President Trump said Thursday that trade negotiations with China were going well but that no final agreement would be reached until he met with President Xi Jinping.
Mr. Trump, in a series of morning Twitter posts, said there was “good intent and spirit” on both sides of the talks. He asserted that China wanted to make a deal so that the United States does not increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports on March 2, as Mr. Trump has threatened.
The president is scheduled to meet with Liu He, China’s vice premier, in the Oval Office on Thursday, during the second day of talks between American and Chinese officials who are trying to hash out what Mr. Trump called a “comprehensive transaction.”
Mr. Trump said that he and Mr. Xi could meet to finalize an agreement in the near future. Mr. Trump could see Mr. Xi in February if he travels to Asia for his next summit meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea. That would give them the opportunity to complete an agreement if the talks are on track.
The United States wants China to commit to buying American goods and services in large quantities to reduce America’s trade deficit, and to agree to make sweeping structural changes to the Chinese economy.
On Monday, Mr. Trump reiterated the types of concessions he wants China to make, including opening its market to American manufacturers, farmers and financial services. “Without this a deal would be unacceptable!” Mr. Trump said in a tweet.
The countries are facing a deadline of March 2 to reach a trade agreement — or the United States has threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent. But there is little chance that every issue will be resolved by that date, and Trump administration officials describe the negotiations as exponentially more complicated than anything the White House has tackled to date.
Trump administration officials have signaled that the negotiations are narrowing around a smaller initial deal that would stave off additional tariffs, but not roll back the duties on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports that Mr. Trump has already imposed. In exchange, China would follow through with promised purchases of American goods and services and some modest economic changes reforms.
A person familiar with the negotiations said that there were signs of progress on Wednesday, the first day of talks, but that it did not appear that major breakthroughs were imminent on many of the major concessions the United States is seeking.