President Donald Trump expressed optimism about forging a comprehensive trade deal with China as high-level talks continued on Thursday, but said any arrangement that fails to open Chinese markets broadly to U.S. industry and agriculture would be unacceptable.
As delegations from the world’s two top economies held the second of two scheduled days of talks in the U.S. capital aimed at easing a six-month-old trade war, Trump also said no final accord will be made until he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the near future.
The talks were aimed at resolving deep differences over China’s intellectual property practices. Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent on March 2 if an agreement is not reached and impose new tariffs on the rest of Chinese goods shipped to the United States.
Trump was scheduled to meet with the leader of the Chinese delegation, Vice Premier Liu He, at the White House at 3:30 p.m. as talks conclude.
“Meetings are going well with good intent and spirit on both sides,” Trump said on Twitter. “No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more difficult points.”
Trump, who has engaged in a series of fights with a variety of trade partners since becoming president in 2017, has acted as the final decision-maker in U.S. trade negotiations. Trump has vetoed multiple proposed trade deals with China, choosing to push ahead with tariffs on Chinese goods to gain leverage.
The Republican president set a high bar for any agreement in the current round of talks, writing on Twitter, “China’s representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table.”
Trump said he was looking for China to open its markets “not only to Financial Services, which they are now doing, but also to our Manufacturing, Farmers and other U.S. businesses and industries. Without this a deal would be unacceptable!”
Chinese negotiators proposed a meeting between Trump and Xi next month in the Chinese city of Hainan, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Two White House officials said the Chinese had not made an invitation in the current talks for Trump to meet Xi in China soon, but added that they would not be surprised if such an offer was extended during Liu’s meeting on Thursday.
“The White House thus far has been focused on substance, not next steps,” one official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.