US-China trade talks going ‘very well’: Donald Trump

President Donald Trump says China and the US are “getting close to a very historic, monumental deal”. Photo: The Washington Post

WASHINGTON D.C., May 4, 2019, SCMP. Negotiations between Washington and Beijing on reaching a trade deal to end their tariff war are going “very well”, United States President Donald Trump said on Friday, reported the South China Morning Post.

Trump made the remarks in a meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini at the White House, as Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He prepares for the next round of talks in Washington next week.

“The deal itself is going along pretty well. I would even say very well. We’ll see what happens over the next couple of weeks,” Trump told reporters.

“But we’re getting close to a very historic, monumental deal. And if it doesn’t happen, we’ll be fine too. Maybe even better.”

Trump said the US was taking billions of dollars in tariffs from China.

“We’ve never taken in 10 cents from China, and now we’re taking in billions and billions of dollars.

That’s had a very positive effect on things,” he said.

Trump said also that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed the possibility of extending their nuclear deal or creating a new one that included China.

“We’re talking about a nuclear agreement where we make less and they make less and maybe even where we get rid of some of the tremendous firepower that we have right now,” he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Liu would lead a delegation of more than 100 officials from over a dozen government agencies for the talks in Washington, which are set to start on Wednesday.

US Vice-President Mike Pence said on Friday that Trump was firm on his demands that China change its trade practices.

“The president believes we’re in a very strong position, we could put more tariffs on if we’re not able to reach an agreement. The manner in which tariffs would come off is going to be a part of the enforcement mechanism and all of that is the subject of negotiations as we talk,” he told CNBC.

“Forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft are a reality. President Trump has made it clear that things have to change with China on the structural issues as well as the trade imbalance and we’ll continue to stand firm on those”.

US businesses are tempering their expectations that a trade deal with Beijing will force China to significantly cut back on its state subsidies.

Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, said the talks were “certainly in the endgame” and that 94.5 per cent of the issues had been settled, according to his own estimates.

But the two sides were struggling to close the gap on several issues, including specifics on how the US and China would roll back a portion of the tariffs on a combined US$360 billion worth of goods, he said.

The two sides concluded their 10th round of talks in Beijing on Friday. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described the meetings as “productive”, but both sides were tight lipped on the details of the negotiations.

Chinese state media said the lack of information suggested the talks were in their final stages and that officials were concentrating on difficult issues.

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