WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States and China were getting very close to a trade deal that could be announced within four weeks, but he issued a warning to Beijing that, absent a pact, it would be difficult to allow trade to continue.
Speaking to reporters at the White House at the start of a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Trump said some of the tougher points of a deal had been agreed but there were still differences to be bridged.
“We’re getting very close to making a deal. That doesn’t mean a deal is made, because it’s not, but we’re certainly getting a lot closer,” Trump said in the Oval Office.
“And I would think with, oh, within the next four weeks or maybe less, maybe more, whatever it takes, something very monumental could be announced.”
Trump said he would hold a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping if there were a deal.
The two countries are engaged in intense negotiations to end a months-long trade war that has rattled global markets.
Trump declined to say what would happen to U.S. tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods as part of a deal. China wants the tariffs lifted, while U.S. officials are wary of giving up that leverage, at least for now.
Asked about the benefits of an agreement for China, Trump said: “It’s going to be great for China, in that China will continue to trade with the United States. I mean, otherwise, it would be very tough for us to allow that to happen.”
Goods trade between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies, totaled $660 billion last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, consisting of imports of $540 billion from China and $120 billion in