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Will soon have signing summit with Prez Xi: Trump

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Signalling that a negotiated new trade deal with China is within reach, US President Donald Trump said Monday he will soon have "a signing summit" with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

A high-powered Chinese trade delegation led by its Vice President Liu He left Washington on Sunday after four days of extensive talks with American team led by US Trade Representatives Robert Lighthizer.

Trump said the Chinese trade delegation could soon be coming back again.

"It looks like they'll be coming back quickly again. And we're going to have another summit. We're going to have a signing summit, which is even better. So hopefully, we can get that completed. But we're getting very, very close," Trump said at a meeting of Governors at the White House.

The US and China have been locked in an escalating trade spat since early 2018, raising import tariffs on each other's goods.

Last year, Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on USD 250 billion of Chinese goods. The move prompted China to increase tariffs on USD 110 billion of US goods.

Trump and Xi agreed to halt any further tariff increases for 90 days beginning January 1. Trump cited progress made during trade talks in Washington DC this month as a reason to delay the tariff increase.

A day earlier, the President had said that the two countries were nearing a trade deal.

Trump used the occasion to praise Xi for helping him on fentanyl, an opioid used as a pain medication and for anesthesia, which he said is of tremendous problem to the US.

"The fentanyl is a tremendous problem. It seems to be made 100 per cent in China. A hundred per cent. Now, China is paying us, right now, billions and billions of dollars of tariffs a month. Every month, billions of dollars. I love it. Personally, I love it. But they're paying billions of dollars. And it's hurting them; it's not good for them," he said.

"I said to President Xi - 'President, you have to do me a favour. As part of our trade deal...' - it has nothing to do with trade, or certainly very little - but we're having shipped over here, from China, fentanyl.

"It's killing 88,000 people a year, and probably more. That's just the ones we know about. It's deadly. A little tiny spoonful can wipe out a state, it's hard to believe. It can wipe out an entire state, a spoonful of this stuff," he said.

Trump referred to the tough laws in China, including provision of death penalty for them successfully handling the drugs problem.

"In China, they have a very, very tough penalty for drugs. It's called the death penalty. And I said to President Xi, 'You don't have much of a drug problem. Do you have a drug problem? No. No drug problem'. I said, So you have 1.4 billion people, and you don't have a drug problem? 'That's right. No drug problem'. I said, What do you attribute that to? Death penalty. Quick trial," Trump said, referring to his conversation with Xi.

Trump and his advisers have accused the Chinese of unfair trade practices, from government subsidies to intellectual property theft, claims the Chinese have consistently denied all issues that are the subject of ongoing negotiations.

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

First Published: Mon, February 25 2019. 23:55 IST