WASHINGTON – Negotiators representing the United States and China agreed on Friday to extend trade talks into the weekend.
The extension was announced at the White House, where President Donald Trump received the leader of the Chinese delegation, Deputy Premier Liu He.
The top US negotiators, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, were also present for the meeting in the Oval Office.
Trump said that the two sides had reached a “final agreement” on the issue of currency manipulation, though he did not provide any specifics.
US politicians have long accused China of manipulating the value of its currency to make its exports more competitive.
Negotiators are working to meet Trump’s March 1 deadline for an agreement to avert an increase, from 10 percent to 25 percent, in the tariffs the US imposed last year on $200 billion in Chinese products.
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed during a Dec. 1 meeting in Buenos Aires to observe a 90-day truce in the trade battle between the world’s two largest economies.
“Ultimately, I think the biggest decisions and some even smaller decisions will be made by President Xi and myself. And we expect to have a meeting some point in the not too distant future and I can only say talks are going along well, but we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said Friday.
This week’s round of talks in Washington was originally scheduled to last two days.
Trump said he is willing to delay the deadline, originally set for March 1, for increasing tariffs on imported Chinese goods.
The trade war between the world’s two largest economies, triggered by the US president’s aggressive protectionism, has sparked anxiety and volatility in global financial markets.
Both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have lowered their forecasts of global economic growth as a consequence of the tensions over trade between Washington and Beijing.
In pursuit of an accord, China has already adopted several goodwill measures, such as lowering tariffs on imported vehicles from the US, resuming soy purchases from the United States and introducing an initiative that would prohibit forced technology transfer from American countries doing business in the Asian nation.