Washington, Feb 15 (EFE).- US President Donald Trump said here Friday that talks with China on a wide-ranging trade agreement were going “extremely well.”
“It’s going extremely well,” he told reporters at the White House, “We’re a lot closer than we ever were in this country with having a real trade deal” with China.
A delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US Foreign Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was in Beijing this week for a new round of discussions that was followed by a brief meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
US and Chinese officials will hold additional sessions next week in Washington.
Negotiators are working against the clock to meet Trump’s March 1 deadline for an agreement to avert an increase, from 10 percent to 25 percent, in the tariffs the US imposed last year on $200 billion in Chinese products.
“I love tariffs, but I also love them (the Chinese) to negotiate,” Trump said. “If we make a deal, they won’t have to pay.”
The president emphasized that it would be an “honor to remove” the tariffs if a pact with Beijing were finally reached.
This week’s encounter in Beijing was the third face-to-face meeting between representatives of the two countries since Xi and Trump agreed during a Dec. 1 meeting in Buenos Aires to observe a 90-day truce in the trade battle.
The truce is set to expire at the beginning of next month, but the US president hinted on Tuesday that he might extend the deadline if he saw the talks were making progress.
“If we’re close to a deal, where we think we can make a real deal and it’s gonna get done, I could see myself letting that slide for a little while. But generally speaking, I’m not inclined to do that,” he said.
China, for its part, has adopted several goodwill measures, such as lowering tariffs on imported vehicles from the US, resuming soy purchases from the United States and introducing an initiative that would prohibit forced technology transfer from American countries doing business in the Asian nation.
The round of negotiations held at the beginning of February in Washington produced “significant progress,” according to the parties, though the thorniest issues between the world’s two largest economies remained to be resolved.