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Trump, Xi upbeat on US-China trade deal

02 November 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump said he talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, especially about ongoing trade disputes between the world's two biggest economies.

But Trump has not "set in stone" any decisions on escalating tariffs on Chinese goods and may withdraw some duties if there are promising policy discussions with China, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday.

Trump has imposed penalty tariffs of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese goods in a dispute over Beijing's plans for state-led development of technology industries.

"Just had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China. We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade", Mr Trump tweeted. Trump said trade talks were "moving along nicely" and that meetings were "being scheduled" at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Xi was quoted as saying after the call with Trump that they had hoped to expand trade cooperation.

Trump imposed new tariffs on roughly half of Chinese imports this summer while Beijing fired back with tariffs on most United States products.

A Justice Department indictment targeted 2 companies based in China and Taiwan and 3 individuals, saying they conspired to steal trade secrets from United States semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc.

The US and China's tit-for-tat tariffs on each other's goods have rumbled on for months as Trump pledges to help create more US manufacturing jobs.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right) speaks next to Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander (second right) during a meeting with a group of US Republican senators and Congress members at Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing on Thursday.

Separately, the South China Morning Post - also citing unnamed sources - reported that Mr Trump had offered to host a dinner for the Chinese president after the G20 summit. "If President Trump makes an agreement with President Xi, there is nobody above them to overturn it", he said.

One person said a sticking point in any potential deal is intellectual property theft, where the Trump administration has sought to take a hard line.

Trump administration officials have said that trade talks with China can not resume until Beijing comes up with specific actions it is willing take to meet United States demands for sweeping changes to policies on technology transfers, industrial subsidies and market access. "I don't think they're ready yet".

Trump, Xi upbeat on US-China trade deal