US, China upbeat on trade talks amid South China Sea tensions

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Will the trade war ever end? Potential late March Trump-Xi meeting would likely extend talks

The soft sentiment drivers for markets had circled President Donald Trump overnight with his lack of an outright objection to the border-security deal and the suggestion of his flexibility in the deadline for a trade deal with China.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a member of the U.S. trade delegation to China, leaves a hotel in Beijing, China February 13, 2019.

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The Trump administration said the US president still wants to meet China's Xi Jinping in an effort to end the trade war, a sign of optimism as negotiators from the world's two biggest economies start their latest round of talks this week.

Members of a U.S. trade delegation including deputy USA trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish left a Beijing hotel on Tuesday (Feb 12) on their way to the second day of talks with Chinese officials.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said the Trump administration was pleased that the talks were moving forward but cautioned that March 1 is a "real deadline" for reaching a deal.


While China has offered to buy more United States soybeans and beef, officials have yet even to agree on a draft of a deal that would address key USA concerns, according to media reports. "I could see myself letting that slide for a little while", Trump said at the White House.

Uncertainty whether the leaders will meet to finalize an agreement has stoked concerns that negotiations are faltering as the March 1 deadline approaches. Washington is demanding far-reaching changes from China to address unfair practices it says are deeply unfair, including theft of American intellectual property and the massive Chinese trade surplus.

The talks kicked off in Beijing with discussions among deputy-level officials on Monday before minister-level meetings later in the week.


Those tariffs now stand at 10 percent, but an additional $50 billion worth of imports has already been hit by a 25 percent tariff. However, strident White House China critic Peter Navarro was not listed as part of the USA team.

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