After planning to hold a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago to ink a deal, US President Donald Trump on Sunday said that the US is delaying a planned increase of tariffs on more than $200 billion in Chinese exports after "substantial progress" made in trade talks. The world's two largest economies are locked in a trade war since Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items from China in March last year, a move that sparked fears of a global trade war. In response, China, the world's second largest economy after the US, imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of American imports.
"I am pleased to report that the US has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues," Trump wrote on Twitter. "As a result of these very productive talks, I will be delaying the US increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1. Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement. A very good weekend for US & China!"
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Trump had already expressed optimism about the negotiations Friday after meeting with China's vice premier Liu He. The talks concluded Sunday. Xi also struck a positive tone in a letter Liu delivered to Trump, saying he hoped the negotiations would be held in a "win-win" spirit that would lead to a mutually beneficial agreement.
The Chinese president expressed hope that the talks maintain "a mutually respectful, cooperative and win-win attitude" and lead to a "mutually beneficial" agreement.
During a dinner summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, the two leaders agreed to give a pause to their trade war and set a deadline of negotiating a trade agreement by March 1. So far, at least eight rounds of talks have been held. Trump said that they have made considerable progress.
The harder parts covering issues such as scaling back China's ambitious industrial strategy for global pre-eminence, meanwhile, are another question.