By Ken Bredemeier
U.S. President Donald Trump says he had a positive phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday and plans to hold extended trade talks with him next week at the G-20 meeting of the leaders of the world’s biggest economies in Japan.
Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, said Xi stressed to Trump that it was important for the discussions between the world’s two biggest economies to be conducted on an equal footing, but that the two countries would “lose by fighting.”
“The key is to show consideration to each other’s legitimate concerns,” Xi said. “We also hope that the United States treats Chinese companies fairly. I agree that the economic and trade teams of the two countries will maintain communication on how to resolve differences.”
Trump said on Twitter he “had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China.”
He added that their “respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting.”
Trade talks between the two nations stalled in recent weeks after it had appeared a deal was within reach. Washington blamed China for backtracking on trade provisions the U.S. believed the two sides had agreed to, although Beijing rebuffed that interpretation.
In recent months, Washington and Beijing have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s exports, with Trump threatening to add tariffs to another $325 billion worth of Chinese imports, an action that then would encompass virtually all of Beijing’s goods sent to the U.S.
Until Tuesday’s call between Trump and Xi, their meeting next week in Osaka had not been officially confirmed, with Trump previously saying it would occur, but China not publicly saying so. Trump threatened to “immediately” impose the new tariff on the $325 billion in Chinese exports if Xi rejected a meeting with him.
“The United States wants to continue the conversations about structural changes regarding intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers and market openings and tariffs,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said. “We’re looking for an enforceable agreement as we always have — that’s absolutely vital. So all of those general topics will be on the table.”
U.S. stock markets surged on news of a resumption of trade talks between the two countries, with the three major indexes in New York all up more than 1%.
Along with trade, Trump and Xi are expected to discuss the U.S. leader’s efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal, where negotiations also have stalemated.
Ahead of the G-20 summit, Xi is visiting North Korea, the first trip by a Chinese president to its southern neighbor in 14 years.