President Donald Trump heralded “big” trade progress from a long Saturday call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Just had a long and very good call with President Xi of China. Deal is moving along very well,” said Trump. “If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas, and points of dispute. Big progress being made!”
China has been promoting progress on trade negotiations with the United States over the past two weeks. Leading up to Christmas day the two nations held trade talk phone calls that the Chinese commerce ministry was sure to promote afterward. China specifically promoted progress on not only trade but on the highly charged issue of intellectual property. President Trump has been adamant for months that China must stop the theft of U.S. intellectual property in order for a trade deal to be made.
President Trump told Breitbart News in October that China wasn’t ready to negotiate yet and that their economy was suffering under the U.S. tariffs on hundreds of billions in Chinese goods. He said the U.S. had rebuilt China over years of trade deficits. “What they’ve done to our country is take out anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion a year. Rebuilt China,” he said.
President’s Trump and Xi spoke on the phone ahead of a December 1 meeting at the G20 summit in Argentina. At the time Trump refused to relent on tariffs and demanded China halt unfair trading practices and theft of U.S. intellectual property. During their G20 meeting Trump and Xi agreed to a temporary tariff truce. China agreed to buy more in U.S. goods and to participate in 90 days of focused trade talks.
China’s commerce ministry promoted Friday an agreement between the two nations to hold in-person trade talks in Beijing sometime in January. “Even as the U.S side is in the Christmas holiday period, China and U.S. economic and trade teams have been in close communication, and the consultations are progressing in an orderly manner as scheduled,” spokesman for China’s commerce ministry Gao Feng said upon announcement of the agreement to meet. One report claimed the meeting has been set for January 7. Feng did not confirm this at the time of the announcement. “The two sides have indeed made specific arrangements for face-to-face consultations in January in addition to continuing intensive telephone consultations.”