US, China hail major progress in trade talks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 02, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:23 AM, February 02, 2019

US, China hail major progress in trade talks

Trump expects to meet Xi to try to seal deal

The United States and China said their trade war negotiations resulted in major progress as the clock ticks on a March deadline to avert a massive escalation of tariffs that could bruise the global economy.

US President Donald Trump hailed "tremendous progress" and welcomed a "beautiful" letter from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who said he hoped for further cooperation.

Beijing's official Xinhua news agency yesterday said that US and Chinese negotiators made "important progress" during two days of "candid, specific and fruitful" discussions in Washington.

Although the latest round of talks ended with positive words, the White House emphasized the two sides still faced the "hard deadline" of March 1 to avoid another sharp escalation in their trade war.

Economists say that prospect -- which would mean more than doubling US tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods -- would be a body blow to the global economy.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to China in mid-February for the next round of talks, according to Xinhua, and Trump said he would meet Xi after that to close the deal.

Last year, Washington and Beijing imposed tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, after Trump initiated the trade war because of complaints over unfair trade practices.

US duty rates on $200 billion in Chinese goods are due to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if no agreement is reached by March 1.

Trump said he did not think he would need to extend the deadline.

"I think when President Xi and I meet, every point will be agreed to," Trump added.

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