Date
19 November 2018
US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping plan to meet on the sidelines of the G20 leaders summit in Argentina at the end of November. Photo: AFP
US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping plan to meet on the sidelines of the G20 leaders summit in Argentina at the end of November. Photo: AFP

Trump, Xi upbeat on resolving trade disputes after phone chat

US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping both expressed optimism about resolving their bitter trade disputes ahead of a high-stakes meeting planned for the two leaders at the end of November in Argentina, Reuters reports.

Trump said on Twitter that trade discussions with China were “moving along nicely”, and that he planned to meet with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 leaderssummit, after the two had a “very good” phone discussion.

In comments to state media, Xi said he hoped China and the United States would be able to promote a steady and healthy relationship, and that he was willing to meet with Trump in Argentina.

“The two countries’ trade teams should strengthen contact and conduct consultations on issues of concern to both sides, and promote a plan that both can accept to reach a consensus on the China-US trade issue,” Xi said on CCTV state television.

Xi was quoted by CCTV as saying after the call with Trump that the two leaders had hoped to expand bilateral trade cooperation.

Neither leader specified any details of potential progress in their first known direct discussion in several months.

Trump administration officials have said that trade talks with China cannot resume until Beijing comes up with specific actions it is willing take to meet US demands for sweeping changes to policies on technology transfers, industrial subsidies and market access.

The two countries already have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods and Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on the remainder of China’s US$500 billion-plus exports to the US if the disputes cannot be resolved.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China was probably Washington’s biggest long-term security challenge and the US was engaged in a “multi-pronged effort … to convince China to behave like a normal nation on commerce” and respect international law.

But Trump struck a more affable tone on Twitter after the phone call with Xi.

“Just had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China. We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade,” Trump tweeted. “Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina. Also had good discussion on North Korea!”

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CG

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