Trump on trade deal with China: 'We're getting a little bit closer'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE on Friday struck a cautiously optimistic note on the prospects of reaching a trade deal with China as he sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a highly anticipated meeting at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit.

"I actually think that we were very close and then we-- something happened where it slipped a little bit and now we're getting a little bit closer," Trump said as he sat across the table from Xi.

"But it would be historic if we could do a fair trade deal," he added.

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Trump said he expected it to be a "very productive meeting" and hoped the two sides could "go on to do something that will truly be monumental and great for both countries."

The president did not answer shouted questions from reporters in the room.

All eyes will be on the outcome of the Trump-Xi sit-down given the potential ripple effects for the world economy. Trump regularly touts his personal relationship with Xi and has said the two must meet before a deal is signed.

The two countries have been locked in an escalating trade war, hitting the other with sanctions on billions of dollars worth of goods.

Talks came to a standstill until just a few weeks ago in the lead-up to the G-20 in Japan.

The Trump administration has insisted that any deal must address intellectual property theft protections, enforcement mechanisms, tariffs and other barriers to commerce.

Experts have said a final deal is unlikely to take shape during this weekend's meeting. Instead, the two sides could establish a truce on implementing additional tariffs while they resume negotiations.

Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods if the talks don't yield progress.

The president said earlier in the day that he intended to bring up Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company that the administration has labeled a national security threat.

The company is on an "entity list" that essentially bars it from buying components from American firms without U.S. government approval.