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WASHINGTON, Feb 25, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – US President Donald Trump said Sunday he would delay a planned tariff increase on Chinese exports after both sides hailed “substantial progress” in trade talks, raising the prospect of a summit with President Xi Jinping to seal the deal. - A home for your website

Trump said there could be “very big news” in the next two weeks, and he
planned to meet with Xi at the US leader’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida if
more progress is made.

Top negotiators met in Washington for four days of talks that ended on
Sunday in an effort to resolve a months-long trade war that analysts fear
could torpedo the global economy.

The United States had been due to increase tariffs on more than $200
billion in Chinese goods on March 1, but Trump said he would now delay the
punitive duties following the “very productive talks”.

“I am pleased to report that the U.S. has made substantial progress in our
trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual
property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency,
and many other issues,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The official Xinhua news agency used almost the exact same language,
reporting “substantial progress” on those thorny issues in the talks led by
Xi’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He.

The delegations “came a step closer to realising the important consensus
reached” by Trump and Xi late last year, Xinhua said.

The report said the parties also agreed to “carry out follow-ups in
accordance with the instructions of the two heads of state”.

“Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a
Summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement,”
Trump tweeted.

“A very good weekend for U.S. & China!”

– ’Big news’ –

After exchanging tit-for-tat tariffs on more than $300 billion in total
two-way trade, Trump and Xi declared a truce in December and agreed to hold
off on further tariffs or retaliation for 90 days.

“If all works well, we’ll have very big news over the next week or two,”
Trump told state leaders at the Governors’ Ball in the White House Sunday

Noting the many questions on the state of trade negotiations from
governors, Trump added: “China is everywhere.”

“Let’s see what happens. We still have a little ways to go,” he said of a

Trump initiated the trade war, which ate into company profits and
contributed to stock market plunges, because of complaints about unfair
Chinese trade practices — concerns shared by the European Union, Japan and

– Steps forward –

Shanghai’s stock exchange led a rally across Asian markets following
Trump’s announcement of a delay in the tariffs increase. The news also fired
currency markets with the yuan extending gains to a seven-month high, while
other high-yielding, riskier units were also up against the dollar.

Xi had also struck a positive tone in a letter Liu delivered to Trump on
Friday, saying he hoped the negotiations would be held in a “win-win” spirit
that would lead to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Analysts say the two sides are likely to trumpet mutual agreements to
resolve the easier parts of the trade dispute — increasing purchases of
American goods, more open investment in China and tougher protections for
intellectual property and proprietary technology.

The harder parts covering issues such as scaling back China’s ambitious
industrial strategy for global preeminence, meanwhile, are another question.

Trump said Friday that an agreement on currency manipulation will be
included in the trade pact, but otherwise few details have been made public.

Beijing has reportedly proposed a significant increase in its imports of
US energy and agricultural exports. Still, a broader deal could be difficult
given the US demands for far-reaching structural changes.

China’s retaliation has hit US farm exports hard. The US Agriculture
Department estimated this month that US soy exports would not return to their
pre-trade war levels for another six years.

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