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China's Xi to meet top US trade officials: report

AFP  |  Beijing 

Chinese plans to meet with top US officials in this week, a report said Wednesday, as the world's two biggest economies rush to patch up their trade differences before a looming deadline.

Xi will meet on Friday with officials including US Trade and Steven Mnuchin, who are in the capital for crunch talks towards a trade deal, the South Morning Post reported.

"Xi is scheduled to meet both Lighthizer and Mnuchin on Friday," it said, quoting a source briefed on the arrangements.

The US officials and their Chinese counterparts meet for talks on Thursday and Friday.

They are under the gun to seal an accord ahead of the March 1 deadline set by Donald Trump, though the US said Tuesday that he was open to extending that, depending on progress in

"If we're close to a deal, where we think we can make a real deal ... I could see myself letting that slide for a little while," Trump told reporters at the

In December, suspended for three months Trump's plan to increase tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese imports -- to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent -- to allow time for negotiations.

Mnuchin told reporters in late on Tuesday he was eager to start. "We're looking forward to several important days of talks," he said in brief remarks.

He and other US officials left their hotel on Wednesday without making substantive remarks.

The Chinese delegation will be led by Liu He, China's point man on trade, and central

The two sides said major progress was made in talks last month in Washington, but subsequent comments have been less optimistic, jarring financial markets and amplifying concerns about how the dispute will affect fragile world growth.

But global stocks rose after Trump's hint of a deadline extension. is demanding far-reaching changes to Chinese practices that it says are unfair, including theft of and intellectual property, and myriad barriers that foreign companies face in the Chinese domestic market.

has offered to boost its purchases of US imports but is widely expected to resist calls for major changes to its industrial policies such as slashing government subsidies.

The two countries have already slapped tariffs on more than USD 360 billion in two-way trade, which has weighed on their and shaken global financial markets.

The warned on Sunday of a possible global economic "storm" as world growth forecasts dip, citing the US-trade row as a key pivot point.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 11:15 IST