Trump plans to meet Xi after US-China talks end with no deal - InfoNews

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Trump plans to meet Xi after US-China talks end with no deal

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, accompanied by Trump Administration officials, meets with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, left, and other Chinese officials as they begin US-China Trade Talks in the Diplomatic Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Complex, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
January 31, 2019 - 3:41 PM

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump expects to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to try to resolve a six-month trade standoff after U.S. and Chinese negotiators ended two days of talks Thursday without settling the toughest issues that divide the world's two biggest economies.

"If we come to an agreement, there is a lot of work that has to be done," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters, summarizing what he said were two days and an evening of "very intense, detailed and specific discussions."

"It's my judgment that we made headway," he said, declining to outline specific areas of concern where he thought the two sides had made progress. Lighthizer reiterated that a March 2 deadline stands and said it would be up to Trump to decide how to proceed at that point if the comprehensive trade deal he wants to reach with China remained out of reach.

March 2 is the point at which the U.S. would escalate import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods if there was no deal. The penalties are scheduled to jump from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

"He'll make that decision when we get there," Lighthizer said of Trump. He spoke after the talks concluded and Trump met in the Oval Office with the Chinese delegation. "The most important thing now is to continue the work."

Trump spoke glowingly of a Chinese commitment to buy vast quantities of U.S. soybeans. But he acknowledged that he and Xi would have to reach a final agreement on the far more contentious technology issues, and said that might require more than one meeting with Xi.

"There are some points we don't agree to, but we will agree," the president told reporters. "I think when Xi and I meet, every point will be agreed to."

The White House had no details on when a presidential-level meeting might take place. Trump is expected to travel to Asia in late February for another meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, though the White House has not announced a date and location for those talks.

The U.S.-China trade hostilities escalated after Trump took office, weakening both economies, shaking financial markets and clouding the outlook for global trade. Analysts have held out little hope the two countries can reach a comprehensive deal over the next month.

At the heart of the conflict is the U.S. demand that Beijing stop taking predatory actions — from intellectual theft to the forced handover of technology by U.S. companies — in a drive to become a global power in such fields as robotics and electric cars. The Trump administration also complains that Beijing unfairly subsidizes its own tech companies.

China has denied that it deploys any such tactics. There was no immediate comment from the Chinese about the talks.

Lighthizer, who has taken a hard line on Chinese trade practices, led the U.S. delegation. Vice Premier Liu He headed the Chinese side.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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