China is reviewing locations in the US where President Xi Jinping would be willing to meet with Donald Trump to sign the first phase of a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies, people familiar with the plans said.
Officials in Beijing had hoped that if Xi travelled to the US to sign stage one of the agreement it would be as part of a state visit, but they’re open to having him go even if it isn’t, people familiar with the matter said. No final decision has been made, said a Chinese official, who asked not to be named discussing the private negotiations.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday met a US delegation that included national security adviser Robert O’Brien and US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross at a regional summit in Bangkok.
Before meeting Li, Ross told a morning business forum that the US was “very far along" with “phase one" of a trade deal with China. Earlier, Trump told reporters that a trade agreement, if completed, would be signed somewhere in the US.
“We’re relatively close to an agreement," O’Brien told reporters in Bangkok on Monday, adding that Trump invited Xi to the US if the two sides are ready to sign the phase one agreement. “I’m cautiously optimistic about it."
In an interview with Bloomberg on Sunday, Ross expressed optimism the US would conclude an initial agreement with China this month before working on additional phases. He also said licences would be coming “very shortly" for US firms to sell components to China’s Huawei Technologies Co.
US equity futures advanced along with stocks worldwide on signs that trade tensions are easing. China’s offshore strengthened as much as 0.27% to 7.0227 per dollar on Monday, at one point breaking through its 100-day moving average for the first time since May.
Ross called the phase one agreement “particularly complicated" and said the US was “making sure that each side has a very correct and clear, detailed understanding of what each side has agreed to." Iowa, Alaska, Hawaii and locations in China were all possible places for Trump and President Xi Jinping to sign the deal after the cancellation of this month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile.
“We’re in good shape, we’re making good progress, and there’s no natural reason why it couldn’t be," Ross said. “But whether it will slip a little bit, who knows. It’s always possible."