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U.S., China Aim for Trade Deal in Weeks, Trump Says

The U.S. and China are aiming to reach a trade deal in the next four weeks, President Trump said, though he failed to announce a much-anticipated summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“We are rounding the turn” for an agreement, Mr. Trump said in the Oval Office on Thursday while meeting with his trade team and Chinese trade envoy Liu He. Should the two sides get a deal it would be “monumental,” the president said.

Even so, he ticked off a number of critical issues that haven’t yet been resolved, including tariffs and intellectual property protection. There are “major, major issues left,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Negotiators for the U.S. and China have been working to conclude a deal by the end of April, which would be signed by Messrs. Trump and Xi at a summit in May. Mr. Trump said he would know within four weeks whether there will be a summit, which he said would be in the U.S.

It wasn’t clear from his remarks what location he was considering. U.S. officials had been pushing for a session at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, but others recently have suggested it could be at his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort or Washington.

Expectations for a summit were raised late Wednesday, when an administration official told The Wall Street Journal that Mr. Trump was ready to announce the date and place for a summit. The official cautioned, however, that Mr. Trump could still change his mind.

But news of the possible summit announcement produced a backlash among some of Mr. Trump’s his senior advisers, including Mr. Lighthizer, said industry officials tracking the talks. National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow has also generally been opposed to setting a deadline.

They feared that setting a date would telegraph Mr. Trump’s eagerness to strike a deal, and reduce the U.S.’s bargaining leverage on the final points, these people said.
Source: Dow Jones

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