Mubasher: US President Donald Trump is looking forward to meeting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in a bid to end a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies, the White House said.
This came as negotiators from Washington and Beijing struck an upbeat tone regarding their latest round of talks, which kicked off this week in the Chinese capital.
President Trump “wants to meet with President Xi very soon,” US adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News on Monday.
“This president wants a deal [and] he wants it to be fair to Americans and American workers and American interests,” Conway said.
Uncertainty about a meeting between the two leaders to finalise a deal has triggered fears that negotiations are faltering as the 1 March deadline approaches.
In the event that no agreement is reached, Trump threatened to raise the rate of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25% to 10%.
Mid-level officials from the two countries started talks on Monday in preparation for two days of discussions slated for Thursday, involving US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese vice premier Liu He.
US officials are pressing China to adhere to more far-reaching reforms to a state-driven economic model which allegedly hurt US firms.
Trump said last January that he planned to meet Xi in late February, although he backtracked on that last week, stating that no meeting is planned for this month.
However, it remained possible that both leaders meeting in March at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Conway said.
“He has forged a mutually respectful relationship with President Xi,” the US adviser noted.
Trump and Xi agreed late last year at the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit (G20) on holding a 90-day ceasefire in the trade conflict between the US and China, under which negotiators from both sides could resolve sticking issues and hammer out a deal.