U.S.-China trade talks progressing quickly: Trump, Mnuchin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that discussions with China to end a months-long trade war are progressing quickly, though Trump said he could not say whether a final deal would be reached.

Washington and Beijing have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle as U.S. officials press China for an end to practices and policies it argues have given Chinese firms unfair advantages, including subsidizing of industry, limits on access for foreign companies and alleged theft of intellectual property.

“We’re doing very well with China talks,” Trump told reporters at the White House as he sat down to meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. “We’re getting what we have to get, and I think we’re getting it relatively quickly.”

In separate remarks to lawmakers on Thursday, Mnuchin said he expects elements of the discussions to be resolved in the near future, as the two sides pour over a 150-page document they are working on.

“I expect that something will resolve in the near future,” he said during a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The United States and China have slapped import duties on each other’s products that have cost the world’s two largest economies billions of dollars, roiled markets and disrupted manufacturing and supply chains.

“As to whether or not we’ll strike a final deal, that I would never want to say,” Trump said on Thursday. “If it’s not a deal that’s a great deal for us, we’re not going to make it.”

Trump decided last month not to increase tariffs on Chinese goods at the beginning of March, giving a nod to the success of negotiations so far. But hurdles remain.

He and Chinese President Xi Jinping had been expected to hold a summit at the president’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida later this month, but no date has been set and no in-person talks between their trade teams have been held in more than two weeks.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters there “were rumblings” about a possible meeting late next month.

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