Trump won’t meet China’s Xi before trade truce deadline


US President Donald Trump has said he may not meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline in trade war negotiations between the two economic superpowers. This unfavourable development has certainly raised concerns over trade talks dragging on beyond the 90-day tariff truce.

The two sides have three weeks before U.S. duty rates on many Chinese goods are due to jump sharply, which economists say could further weaken the global economy. Trump is scheduled to meet the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam during a denuclearization summit and then he expected that he could schedule his meeting with Xi on the same trip.

On Thursday, while acknowledging that Trump was still optimistic about a deal, Kudlow said, "We've got a pretty sizable distance to go here".

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The benchmark 10-year yield slid 4 basis points to 2.66 percent, the lowest in almost a week.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are leading a group of administration officials headed to Beijing next week as part of the trade talks.

Trump said he did not have plans to meet with Xi when asked during an event in the oval office on Thursday.

USA companies caught in the trade war are now anxious Trump will follow through on his initial threat to increase tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent.

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In a December 1 summit in Argentina, Trump and Xi agreed a truce in which both sides pledged to refrain from imposing further tariffs on each other's imports for 90 days while trying to complete talks to end the trade war.

The President shook his head when reporters asked about the chances of a meeting sending global equities lower as hopes of an early trade deal between the two countries diminished.

Canada's main stock index posted a triple-digit decline in late-morning trading as the Toronto market was hit by broad-based weakness and USA markets sank into the red.

President Trump had set a deadline of March 2nd to reach an agreement on trade. They include USA demands that China boost imports of US products, and Chinese government and corporate pressure on US firms to transfer their technology to Chinese partners.

Such reforms have been a sticking point in talks so far.

CNBC reported that the tariffs were likely to remain at the 10 percent rate.

The White House said in a statement that the United States and China made progress during bilateral trade talks in Washington, DC last week, but much work remains to be done. A source familiar with the talks expressed skepticism about that report to Reuters, and Lighthizer said last week that tariffs had not been a subject of the talks.