Trump says `big progress being made' with China after Xi call

Trump says `big progress being made' with China after Xi call

Trump says `big progress being made' with China after Xi call

Both the U.S. and China spoke of progress Saturday after telephone talks between their leaders over a trade war that has rattled global markets.

This month at the G20 summit in Argentina, the two leaders called a truce on the trade war.

Trump and Xi agreed to a ceasefire in the trade war at the G20 summit in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, in December, deciding to hold off on imposing more tariffs for 90 days beginning on December 1 while they negotiate a deal to end the dispute following months of escalating tensions. Trump said in a tweet that negotiations were "moving along very well" toward a comprehensive deal, while Chinese state media said Xi believed both sides wanted "stable progress".

Mr Trump did not offer more detail on what specific progress was being made.

As a partial shutdown of the US government entered its eighth day, with no quick end in sight, the Republican president was in Washington, sending out tweets attacking Democrats and talking up possibly improved relations with China.

According to the Xinhua news agency, Trump has also pointed out the importance of the US-Chinese relations for the whole world.

It was unclear who initiated Saturday's call. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said December 18 that the USA and China have held discussions over the phone since then.

China's customs administration announced Friday it had approved USA rice imports, after Beijing's major state-owned grain stockpiler said it had resumed buying U.S. soybeans, and China announced it would suspend extra tariffs added to US-made cars and auto parts starting January 1.

President Donald Trump is hailing even greater momentum in trade talks with China.

The two nations have been engaged in a tariff trade war for much of 2018, after the Trump administration first imposed almost $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods to force Beijing to end its unfair practices.

Negotiators from both countries have been in touch over recent weeks and face-to-face talks could take place in January.

"The Chinese and United States economic and trade teams have always maintained close communication", commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular briefing.

A USA delegation of trade officials is expected to travel to Beijing in early January for negotiations with the Chinese. It said the structural reforms include ending China's unfair trade policies and practices with respect to "forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions, and cyber theft, services, and agriculture".

Resolving the bruising spat could help shore up confidence in the Chinese economy, which itself is bracing for a slowdown.

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