China's President Xi to meet top United States trade negotiators on Friday - SCMP

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His remarks came as the world's two biggest economies are holding talks to resolve their trade war.

The Trump administration said the USA president still wants to meet China's Xi Jinping in an effort to end the trade war, a sign of optimism as negotiators from the world's two biggest economies start their latest round of talks this week.

If a deal is not reached by the beginning of next month then Washington is set to more than double tariffs on 200 billion dollars-worth of Chinese imports.

With a March 1 deadline fast approaching, USA and Chinese officials resume negotiations next week to prevent escalation of a trade dispute that has major implications for the global economy.

Mid-level officials began discussions Monday in preparation for two days of talks starting Thursday involving U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

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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. Trump had said final resolution of the trade dispute would depend on the meeting with Xi "in the near future" but told reporters it had not yet been arranged. A round of talks at the end of January ended with some progress reported, but no deal and USA declarations that much more work was needed.

The US has imposed tariffs on $250bn (£193bn) worth of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110bn of US products.

Washington is expected to keep pressing Beijing on long-standing demands that it make sweeping structural reforms to protect American companies' intellectual property, end policies aimed at forcing the transfer of technology to Chinese companies, and curb industrial subsidies.

US negotiators will likely continue to urge China to make structural reforms and end what the USA claims to be unfair trade practices.

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