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US President Donald Trump. (REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump. (REUTERS)

Donald Trump tweets 'very close' to China trade deal

  • Trump was expected to meet with his top trade advisers on Thursday to discuss the 15 December tariffs deadline
  • Donald Trump tweets 'very close' to China trade deal

WASHINGTON : President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that the United States is "very close" to a trade deal with China, days before new tariffs are due to take effect.

"Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!" Trump tweeted.

The two largest economies in the world are locked in a wide-ranging trade war but negotiators have been working to reach at least a partial resolution before Washington increases tariffs on Sunday.

Trump's flagging of an imminent breakthrough comes as he almost sure to become only the third US president to be impeached over allegations that he abused his office.

With his 2020 reelection battle heating up he is keen to seize back the political initiative and show voters his punishing trade war with China has brought results.

However, it is not clear yet what Washington will get in return for a reduction in the tariffs pressure.

The US ultimately wants China to conduct sweeping reforms of what foreign governments have long complained is systemic abuse against foreign investors, as well as opening its vast market to more goods.

Recently, White House officials have indicated they would settle for less as a so-called "phase one" deal.

China's commerce ministry said Thursday that the two sides were in "close" contact ahead of Sunday's deadline.

In addition to existing tariffs, Trump had threatened to impose a 15 percent levy on $156 billion of Chinese exports at the end of the week.

China had said it would respond with a 25 percent tariff on US autos and a five percent tariff on auto parts -- levies that were suspended earlier this year as a goodwill gesture.

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