UPDATE: President Confirms New Round of U.S.-China Trade Talks Coming

19:03PM Mar 19, 2019

A new round of U.S.-China trade talks will start next week. The "Wall Street Journal" reported U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were expected to travel next week to Beijing to meet with the Chinese Vice Premier.

Sources say the talks are in their final stages.

President Trump discussed how the trade talks are going before boarding a helicopter to give a speech in Lima, Ohio on Wednesday. He was asked about tariffs on China.  "No, we're not talking about removing them, we're talking about leaving them and for a substantial period of time. Because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China, that China lives by the deal.  Because they've had a lot of problems living by certain deals and we have to make sure.  Now, no president has ever done what I've done with China.  China had free reign over our country, taking out five hundred billion dollars a year for many years.  We actually rebuilt China in the truest sense of the word, we rebuilt China, but we're getting along with China very well.  President Xi is a friend of mine.  The deal is coming along nicely.  We have our top representatives going there this weekend to further the deal."

Meanwhile, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue says China has offered some "very attractive numbers for buys of agriculture exports".  Perdue spoke at the National Grain and Feed Association convention in Florida. He said China could triple its 2017 purchases of U.S. farm goods in the next five years.  He says talks have included China buying not only more U.S. soybeans, but other grains, including corn and rice, along with meats including poultry, but this will only happen once a deal is reached.

Previous talk of a March 30th target date to complete trade negotiations between the two sides appears in need of a change.  That's according to Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney.  "I will tell you I would not be concerned if you don't see a Mar-a-Lago-type meeting by March 30th," McKinney said.  "I say that only because we need a little bit more time.  We're making progress all of us, across all of these chapters, but we're gonna have to go a little past March 30th to, I think, get this where we can confidently say we have, both parties, a good package," but McKinney says progress has been modest in the talks.  He says the progress includes areas of the agriculture chapter along with enforcement language.

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