President Donald Trump says he will not meet Chinese President Xi Jinping before a temporary truce in the countries' trade war expires March 1, stoking fears that a deal will not be reached before the 90-day freeze ends.
Asked whether there could be a meeting with Xi around March, Trump said, "Not yet". Maybe. Probably too soon.
Trump's comments echoed what USA administration officials said earlier in the week, relaying that the two men were unlikely to meet before the deadline. Several rounds have taken place since Trump and Xi agreed to a 90-day halt on tariff increases a year ago at the G-20 summit, and additional discussions are scheduled for next week.
"Not yet", Trump told reporters at the White House when asked if a meeting had been arranged for within the next month.
"No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more hard points...." Trump had indicated that was one option, or Xi could come to the United States.
It was initially expected Trump and Xi would meet alongside the president's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un between February 27 and 28 in Da Nang, Vietnam. "But that is off in the distance still at the moment", he said.
Modi in Guwahati, Citizenship Bill protesters show black flags
The prime minister's visit to the region drew sharp protests from groups opposing the CAB in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Modi said and asked if the Chief Minister had lived by it.
But the President and other senior officials have publicly and privately stated the negotiations are going well and that the two sides are continuing to bridge their differences at every round of talks.
The news prompted a selloff in USA stocks overnight, with the S&P 500 Index closing 0.93% in its biggest drop in two weeks. Treasury bond yields dropped as investors sought safety in sovereign USA debt.
Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are scheduled to travel to China next week to continue for the third round of trade negotiations. "They're making a mistake because they need to be prepared", he said. Asian stocks tumbled yesterday on worries the U.S. and China will not reach an agreement. It also did nothing to remove the underlying cause - Chinese retaliatory tariffs - of last year's collapse in USA soy exports to China. China denies the accusations.
President Trump had set a deadline of March 2nd to reach an agreement on trade.
Such reforms have been a sticking point in talks so far.
The White House said in a statement that the United States and China made progress during bilateral trade talks in Washington, DC last week, but much work remains to be done. Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met last week in Washington for trade talks.