No plans yet for Trump-Xi meeting on trade

Leroy Wright
February 10, 2019

Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said earlier at the White House that a Trump-Xi summit was "off in the distance" but that he remained confident the two leaders would still meet at some point.

On Thursday, Trump did not dismiss the possibility of meeting Xi in the next month or so. President Trump had set a deadline of March 2nd to reach an agreement on trade.

Trump has said that final resolution of the trade dispute would depend on him and Xi meeting "in the near future". That marks the end of a 90-day tariffs truce mooted after Trump and Xi met in December. But the USA president said the two would "maybe" meet later.

He does anticipate the US and China could reach a deal later this year to remove the tariffs, with the upcoming election cycle playing a role in the timing.

Negotiations between Chinese and United States officials are still continuing, The New York Times reported.

Trump, who made the comments on Thursday during two days of negotiations between American and Chinese trade officials, suggested a face-to-face meeting could be combined with his trip to Asia later this month for a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, reports The New York Times.

Unless American and Chinese negotiators come to a new agreement, the U.S. is expected to raise import taxes from 10 per cent to 25 per cent for USD200 billion in Chinese goods. The Kospi in South Korea declined 1.2 percent to 2,177.04 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 was down 0.4 percent at 6,067.60. Treasury bond yields dropped as investors sought safety in sovereign USA debt.

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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing next week for another round of trade discussions.

"They're hoping for more success", he said.

Mr Lighthizer told reporters last week that it was not certain a deal could be reached.

"If we do make headway, and the president thinks we're close enough that he can close the deal on major issues, then I think he'll want to have a meeting and do that", he told reporters. Three sources familiar with the matter indicated that report was wrong.

The negative mood sweeping across financial markets late in the trading week continues to highlight how investor sentiment remains extremely sensitive to any changes in the narrative with US-China trade developments.

A study released Wednesday by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a campaign opposed to tariffs, said an increase to 25% would reduce employment by 934,000 jobs and GDP by 0.37%.

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