The United States and China are making progress in negotiations to end their ongoing trade war, but the world’s two largest economies won’t sign a new bilateral agreement just yet, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday.
Writing on Twitter, Trump said that while he plans to meet with “China’s top trade negotiators” today in the Oval Office, he has no intentions of striking a formal trade deal until he meets face-to-face with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China has already made some significant concessions, including vowing to increase US imports to reduce the trade imbalance between the two countries.
However, Trump said that he desired to meet with Xi to iron out some “long standing and more difficult points” that continue to prevent the two economic superpowers from ending the trade war. It’s a “[v]ery comprehensive transaction,” he said.
The president also said that he did not want to sign a trade deal that would amount to little more than a band-aid and would allow tensions — perhaps including longstanding intellectual property disputes such as the one that drove the US Department of Justice to file charges against Chinese electronics giant Huawei — to continue to simmer beneath the surface.
“China’s representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table,” Trump wrote. “All of the many problems are being discussed and will be hopefully resolved.”
Still, time is running out to reach a new trade agreement before the US-China tariff truce expires at the beginning of March and the trade war resumes in full force. According to CNBC , that meeting could take place in late February, which would provide little margin for error ahead of the March 1 deadline.
US companies such as Caterpillar have already begun to feel the effects of the trade war on their bottom line, and economic analysts have warned that a failure to regularize trade between the two countries could threaten the stock market’s recent recovery.
Here is Trump’s full statement :
China’s top trade negotiators are in the U.S. meeting with our representatives. Meetings are going well with good intent and spirit on both sides. China does not want an increase in Tariffs and feels they will do much better if they make a deal. They are correct. I will be meeting with their top leaders and representatives today in the Oval Office. No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more difficult points. Very comprehensive transaction. China’s representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table. All of the many problems are being discussed and will be hopefully resolved. Tariffs on China increase to 25% on March 1st, so all working hard to complete by that date!
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping Image from Nicolas Asfouri/AFP