President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping may not be able to sign a partial trade deal until December, and two U.S. locations have been ruled out for their highly anticipated meeting, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The two sides have been trying to negotiate a limited trade deal that would entail the U.S. dropping some tariffs on Chinese imports in exchange for Beijing resuming purchases of American farm goods and other products.
The U.S.-China trade war that Trump began has been a drag on both nation’s economies, and the leaders had initially expected to take a step toward resolving it ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections at an international summit in Chile this month. The summit was canceled because of protests in the capital, Santiago.
U.S. locations for a Trump-Xi meeting that had been proposed by the White House, including Iowa and Alaska, have been ruled out, the person said. Locations in Asia and Europe are now being considered instead, the person said, asking not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public.
Stocks in Asia were mixed Thursday and futures on the S&P 500 were flat. Equities in Japan edged up, while Hong Kong slipped and China and South Korean stocks were little changed.
“Negotiations are continuing and progress is being made on the text of the phase-one agreement,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said. “We will let you know when we have an announcement on a signing location.”
Reuters reported earlier that the signing might be delayed and likely wouldn’t occur in the U.S.
Trump administration officials in recent days have expressed optimism that phase one of a comprehensive trade deal might come together this month, helping boost equity markets to records this week.
“I think we’re in good shape, we’re making good progress, and there’s no natural reason why it couldn’t be” signed this month, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg Television in an interview Sunday in Bangkok. “But whether it will slip a little bit, who knows, it’s always possible.”