Trump meets US trade delegation after Beijing talks

Trump meets US trade delegation after Beijing talks

Washington, Feb 17 (IANS) US President Donald Trump said that he met the team of US negotiators who had travelled last week to Beijing for a new round of trade negotiations with China.

“Trade negotiators have just returned from China where the meetings on trade were very productive,” Trump, who is currently at his private residence in Palm Beach, Florida, said in a series of tweets on Saturday night.

“Now at meetings with me at Mar-a-Lago giving the details. In the meantime, billions of dollars are being paid to the United States by China in the form of trade tariffs!”

The US delegation, headed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Foreign Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, travelled to Beijing for a round of talks after which they were received by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Efe news reported.

Both teams will meet again next week in Washington.

Trump assured on Friday that the talks with China went “extremely well” and that the team is working closely with China and Xi.

“They are going extremely well… We’re a lot closer than we ever were in this country with having a real trade deal” with China, Trump said at the White House.

March 1 is the deadline for an agreement with China, and Trump has warned that if it does not happen, the US will raise the tariffs imposed on Chinese products valued at $200 billion from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

The President said that it would be an “honour” to withdraw these tariffs if a deal with Beijing is reached.

This was the third face-to-face meeting between representatives of both countries since Xi and Trump agreed a 90-day trade war truce on December 1, 2018.

Trump had agreed to provisionally suspend the increase of US tariffs on these Chinese products, but warned that he would go ahead with his plan if the agreement was not closed within the stipulated period.

However, on February 12, he opened the door to a possible deadline extension if substantial progress is made.

China has adopted several measures of goodwill to close an agreement, such as the lowering of tariffs on imported US vehicles, the resumption of the purchase of soy from the country and the presentation of a bill to prohibit the transfer forced technology.

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