Trump to have 'extended meeting' with Chinese leader

Trump to have 'extended meeting' with Chinese leader
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE on Tuesday said that Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed to an “extended meeting” next week as the two leaders seek a deal to end their countries’ trade war.

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Trump said he spoke by phone with Xi to confirm the meeting will take place at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Osaka, Japan. The U.S. president has repeatedly spoken about meeting with his counterpart at the summit, but Chinese officials had previously balked at a sit-down.

“Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China. We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting,” he tweeted.

The White House said in a subsequent statement that Trump and Xi “discussed the importance of leveling the playing field for U.S. farmers, workers, and businesses through a fair and reciprocal economic relationship” by addressing “structural barriers to trade with China and achieving meaningful reforms that are enforceable and verifiable.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared by more than 300 points on the news, which heightened optimism that the trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies could reach a conclusion.

The U.S. and China appeared close to reaching a deal to end the months-long dispute, but talks broke down in May when the Trump administration accused the Chinese government on backing away from key promises at the last minute.

Trump responded by raising tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion in goods if Xi did not meet with him at the G-20. The president said later that he does not care if the meeting take place.

Trump has long accused China of “ripping off” the U.S. with a number of unfair trade practices, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and onerous ownership rules for foreign companies operating on Chinese soil.

His hard line against Beijing was a key part of his 2016 campaign and it’s also poised to be a central theme of his reelection race, which he is officially kicking off with a Tuesday night rally in Orlando.

But Trump has repeatedly touted what he says is his close personal relationship with Xi and voiced optimism about brokering a sweeping trade agreement with China. The president has demanded that China change its laws to address intellectual property theft and other core irritants as well as purchase more agricultural products from American farmers.

Trump has received backing from both parties on Capitol Hill in taking a hard line against China, but lawmakers and business groups have also urged him to reach a deal that would result in the lifting on tariffs.

Trump and Xi’s last face-to-face meeting occurred last December at the G-20 summit in Argentina.

Updated at 11:36 a.m.