The Latest: US official cites progress in China trade talks


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the trade negotiations between the United States and China (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (LYT’-hy-zur) says “substantial progress” has been made as American and Chinese negotiators wind up two days of trade talks in Washington.

The two sides are trying to make progress toward a deal by a March 1 deadline. That’s when U.S. tariffs against Chinese goods are scheduled to bump up to 25 percent from 10 percent.

President Donald Trump is trying to strike an optimistic tone after earlier in the day casting doubt on the prospects of a deal. He says “we’re going to have a great trade deal.”

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Trump is emphasizing that China will be increasing soybean purchases and calls the purchases “music” to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s ears. He says “that’s going to make our farmers very happy.”


2:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is casting doubt on whether the U.S. and China can reach a comprehensive trade deal to prevent a steep tariff hike against the Asian powerhouse.

American and Chinese negotiators are meeting in Washington this week to try to make progress toward a deal by a March 1 deadline. That’s when U.S. tariffs against Chinese goods are scheduled to bump up to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Asked whether the parties can meet the deadline, Trump said: “I don’t know.”

He says they’ll either reach a “very big deal” or a deal “that we’ll just postpone for a little while.” Trump says any final deal will probably be struck between him and President Xi Jinping.

Trump was meeting with the Chinese negotiators at the White House later Thursday.


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8:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is voicing optimism before he meets with representatives from China for trade talks Thursday.

But Trump says “No final deal” will be made until he sits down again with Chinese President Xi Jinping “in the near future” to discuss “some of the long standing and more difficult points.”

U.S. and Chinese negotiators on Wednesday opened two days of high-level talks aimed at settling a trade war that has weakened both economies.

Trump tweets the meetings are “going well with good intent and spirit on both sides,” even though the odds seem stacked against any substantive resolution.

Trump has set a March deadline for increasing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

He says: “All of the many problems are being discussed and will be hopefully resolved.”

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