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WH official: US, China in 'final weeks' of trade talks

AP  |  Washington 

The top US suggests that the US and are nearing an agreement that would end their trade conflict, but wouldn't commit to a specific time frame.

"Our hope is that we are in the final weeks of having an agreement," US Trade told the Tuesday.

But there are still major issues that need to be resolved, he said.

"I can't predict success at this point."

Lighthizer also said the agreement would have to include an enforcement provision that would enable the US to restore tariffs on Chinese imports if it violated provisions of the pact. That is seen as a major sticking point for Chinese officials.

"We are going to have an enforceable agreement, or the won't agree to the agreement," Lighthizer said.

There have been conflicting signals from the administration about progress in the negotiations.

said Friday he was confident that US could reach a deal with China, which would presumably remove all or most of the tariffs on USD 250 billion of Chinese imports that the administration imposed last year.

retaliated by slapping duties on about USD 110 billion of US goods.

But also said Friday, "If this isn't a great deal, I won't make a deal."

Sen Robert Portman, Republican from Ohio, asked Lighthizer if a deal would be reached by the end of this month.

Chinese is scheduled to travel to at that time and officials have hinted that he could tack on a trip to Trump's resort, Mar-a-Lago, to sign a pact by the end of March.

Lighthizer said, "I don't know when it is going to happen." The timetable is up to President Trump, he added, and

Lighthizer also told the senators that he and spoke with Chinese officials Monday night on the phone.

The two sides regularly exchange drafts of a 110-120 page agreement, he said.

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

First Published: Tue, March 12 2019. 23:56 IST