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US-China extend trade talks as deadline looms

[WASHINGTON] US President Donald Trump on Friday said a trade summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping was likely to occur next month, and hail two days of "very good talks" by negotiators.

The talks were extended through Sunday as officials race to reach a deal ahead of a deadline next week when US duty rates are due to rise sharply - although Mr Trump again said he was considering extending the deadline.

"I think there is a very, very good chance that a deal can be made," Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on a second day of trade negotiations with Chinese officials.

"If we are doing well, I could see extending that" deadline for the end of the three month tariff truce.

Mr Trump said he expected the meeting with Mr Xi to be held in March at Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which is where the leaders can strike the ultimate bargain.

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An agreement on currency manipulation will be included in the trade pact, he said.

"We expect to have a meeting sometime in a not too distant future," he said. "Probably fairly soon in the month of March."

Officials from Beijing also expressed optimism about a positive outcome.

"From China, it is very likely that it will happen," Chinese trade envoy Liu He said, speaking through an interpreter.

Analysts say the two sides are likely to trumpet mutual agreements to resolve the easier parts of the trade dispute - increasing purchases of American exports, more open investment in China and tougher protections for intellectual property and proprietary technology.

The harder parts covering issues like scaling back China's ambitious industrial strategy for global preeminence, are another question.

China is reportedly proposing to increase its imports of US energy and agricultural exports significantly.

Wall Street, which had been up for most of the day on optimism about the trade talks, reacted coolly to the news, paring some of the day's gains, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up nearly 0.5 per cent shortly around 2030 GMT.


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