Trump says no plan to meet China's Xi before trade deal deadline

Frederick Owens
February 10, 2019

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he did not expect to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline in trade war negotiations between the two economic superpowers.

The March 1 is the agreed deadline of the truce in the trade war agreed by both sides during a meeting between Trump and Xi in Argentina late past year.

Along with planning a summit between Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Vietnam at the end of the month, the administration official told CNBC there may not be enough time.

The remarks confirmed comments from administration officials who said the two men were unlikely to meet before the deadline, dampening hopes of a quick trade pact and sparking a drop in USA stock markets.

Mr Lighthizer told reporters last week that it was not certain a deal could be reached. He added that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leaves on Monday for the next round of talks in China hoping for more success.

The US says it will raise tariffs on imports from China if they fail to reach an agreement by that deadline.

The S&P 500 Index closed down 0.93 percent in its biggest drop in two weeks. Treasury bond yields dropped as investors sought safety in sovereign USA debt.

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The US stock market has fallen in response to the news, with hopes of a swift trade pact between the two leaders quickly dampened. "It does make sense the market is pulling back somewhat on that".

Last week, Trump and Chinese officials held the second round of talks in Washington but they released few details about progress in their talks.

It was initially expected Trump and Xi would meet alongside the president's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un between February 27 and 28 in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Without one, the USA will increase the tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent.

Trump's announcement on Thursday was a reversal for the President, who said last week that he planned to meet Xi to resolve any "final issues" before the trade deal. They include US demands that China boost imports of USA products, and Chinese government and corporate pressure on US firms to transfer their technology to Chinese partners.

China has retaliated with tariffs of its own, but has suspended some and is allowing some purchases of U.S. soybeans during the talks. The two leaders could also speak by phone, the official said.

ENERGY: U.S. crude lost 29 cents to $52.35 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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