President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he’d spoken at length with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that “big progress” is being made toward a deal between the world’s largest economies.
The agreement will be “very comprehensive” and will cover “all subjects, areas and points of dispute,” the president said in a tweet.
Trump’s comment comes as a U.S. delegation prepares to travel to Beijing early in the new year for talks with Chinese officials, and is another sign that trade tensions may be cooling after months of brinkmanship.
China’s leader said both he and Trump hope to push for “stable progress” in U.S.-China relations, according to a Xinhua News Agency report on the phone call. Xi added that China supports further talks between the U.S. and North Korea, and hopes for positive results, Xinhua reported.
The White House typically doesn’t release details of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders beyond what the president reveals himself via Twitter.
Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that a U.S. government delegation will travel to Beijing in the week of Jan. 7 for talks, according to two people familiar with the plans.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will lead Trump’s team, which will also include Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, whom Trump named to be in charge of the China talks, isn’t scheduled to join the delegation.
U.S. stocks got a boost this week from news of the upcoming talks.
The gathering will be the first face-to-face discussion between the two sides since Trump and Xi agreed to a 90-day truce during a meeting in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Dec. 18 that the U.S. and China have held discussions over the phone.
Beijing this week announced a third round of tariff cuts, saying it would lower import taxes on more than 700 goods from Jan. 1 as part of its efforts to open up the economy and lower costs for domestic consumers.
Trump has agreed to put on hold a scheduled increase in tariffs on some $200 billion in annual imports from China while the negotiations take place. He’s pushing the Asian nation to reduce trade barriers and stop alleged theft of intellectual property. Beijing so far has pledged to resume buying U.S. soybeans and to at least temporarily lower retaliatory tariffs on U.S. autos.
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