President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely not meet before a critical trade deadline, dampening hopes of a deal to end a nearly yearlong tariff dispute between the United States and China.
During a Thursday gathering in the Oval Office, Trump was asked about the prospects of a meeting before March 1, when the White House is expected to raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
When asked by reporters if face-to-face talks with Xi would happen in the next month or so, Trump said, “Not yet. Maybe. Probably too soon.”
The president’s comments reinforce those already made by administration officials, who said it was unlikely that the two world leaders would meet within the month. Last week, Trump insisted that a sit-down with Xi was necessary for hammering out a deal between Washington and Beijing.
“Meetings are going well, with good intent and spirit on both sides,” he wrote on Twitter. “No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more difficult points…. China’s representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table.”
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow didn’t rule out the possibility of Trump and Xi’s meeting at a later date.
“At some point, the two presidents will meet — that is what Mr. Trump has been saying,” Kudlow told reporters. “But that is off in the distance still at the moment.”
The U.S. has already imposed levies on $250 billion in Chinese goods, with China also slapping duties on $110 billion in U.S. products. A 90-day financial truce was agreed upon by Trump and Xi following a formal dinner at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Next week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer are scheduled to meet with Chinese delegates in Beijing to further discuss China’s intellectual property practices.
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