Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

No plan to meet Xi before deadline

No plan to meet Xi before deadline

The news that the two leaders were now unlikely to meet spurred a sharp selloff in United States stocks, dashing the optimism that had been building that the countries were progressing towards a deal before tariffs on Chinese imports rise to 25 percent after the March 1 deadline.

CNBC first reported Thursday that Trump may not meet with Xi before March 1, citing a senior administration official. Trump said: "Maybe. Probably too soon". "Probably too soon", according to Reuters.

Lighthizer and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, will lead an American delegation to Beijing next week for more trade talks.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil fell 25 cents to $52.39 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 13 cents to $61.76 per barrel. The date was mutually agreed upon by the two Presidents during the G20 Summit in Argentina a year ago. "But that is off in the distance still, at the moment", he told reporters. The deadline is rapidly approaching with no plans in place for the two presidents to meet.

Last week, at the end of the two days of talks, Trump said in a tweet: "No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more hard points".

It's not clear what will happen if a trade deal isn't struck by the deadline.

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Trump has vowed to increase USA tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent now if the two sides can not reach a deal by 12:01 a.m. (0501 GMT) on March 2. Trump has threatened to raise tariffs from their current 10 percent level to 25 percent at the deadline. Markets in China and Taiwan were closed.

The March crude contract was up seven cents at US$52.71 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 2.6 cents at US$2.58 per mmBTU. Washington accuses China of stealing USA intellectual property and forcing American businesses to share their technology with Chinese companies.

White House officials have been cautious about conflating the trade and North Korea issues, despite China's invitation for Trump to meet Xi immediately after the U.S. However, the purchases don't offset the damage done to the soybean industry since tariffs were imposed. She described the deadline as a "black cloud".

While officials seemed optimistic after talks last week in Washington, more recent comments have jarred financial markets, amplifying concerns about how the dispute will affect global growth.

Until now, a good deal of optimism has surrounded the U.S.

The White House said there would be a preparatory meeting of senior officials beginning February 11 and the talks would include officials from the Agriculture, Energy and Commerce Departments. "They're making a mistake because they need to be prepared", he said.

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