Fri, 22 Mar 2019

U.S. president optrimistic about concluding trade deal with China

By Jay Jackson, Omaha News
24 Feb 2019, 10:18 GMT+10

WASHINGTON DC - U.S. President Donald Trump sounded upbeat about ongoing trade talks with China, as he met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House on Friday afternoon.

Whilst many points are being agreed between the two trade delegations, major points will need to be thrashed out by the two presidents, Mr Trump said.

"I think were getting along very well. Ultimately, I think the biggest decisions and some even smaller decisions will be made by President Xi and myself. And we expect to have a meeting sometime in the not-too-distant future," the president said.

"And I can only say talks are going along well, but were going to have to see what happens. I think therell be some points that this group wont agree on because maybe theyre not supposed to agree on, allowed to agree on. And I think President Xi and I will work out the final points, perhaps. And perhaps not."

At Friday's meeting Vice Premier Liu He handed the U.S. president a letter from Xi, which in part said:

"It is my hope that our two sides will continue to work together in the spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation and could redouble our efforts so as to meet each other halfway and reach an agreement that works for our mutual benefit."

The U.S. president outlined some details of current negotiations, and indicated he was keeping Congress briefed on the progress of talks.

"Were having very good talks. Theres a chance that something very exciting could happen. This is a deal that would be signed by me. Ive been in touch with Congress. Ive been telling many of the people in Congress exactly where we are. Were, right now, getting a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of goods coming in mostly technology and high technology, " he said.

"Were getting a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of goods. The 10 percent goes up as of March 1st. It goes to a 25 percent number. So wed be getting 25 percent on $250 billion. And theres about $267 billion thats un-tariffed, untouched, which well discuss later."

"But if we could make a deal, we wouldnt have to bother with that discussion. So well see what happens. But weve had very good talks. As you know, Mr. Lighthizer has done a great job. But its only a great job, Bob, if you get it finished, right?" the president asked.

"And if its a deal thats a good deal for both."

United States Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer was also in attendance at the meeting with Vice Premier Liu He on Friday, and spoke about the progress of currenrt negotiations.

"Weve made progress on some very important structural issues and some progress on purchases. We have a few very, very big hurdles that we still have to face, but if we make if we continue to make progress, that would be a great outcome, and I think the Vice Premier agrees with that."

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin added: "I would just add that the Vice Premier and his team have agreed to extend their trip for two days, so we will be meeting all day tomorrow and into Sunday so we can continue on a very important this is the ambassador has done a very good job at documenting multiple MOUs that will be binding and enforceable and cover all different types of industries."

"If we can successfully conclude this, this will be very good for U.S. business and finally allowing China to open up to U.S. business," the treasury secretary said.

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