US-China trade talks are “moving right along,” President Donald Trump said on Thursday, striking an upbeat tone even as Chinese officials held fast to their line that existing tariffs must come off as part of an interim deal to de-escalate the 17-month trade war between the two powers, reported Reuters.
“It’s moving along very well,” Trump told reporters when asked about the talks, a refrain of comments made on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, though, Trump rattled global markets when he said a deal might have to wait until after the 2020 election.
His remarks came after Chinese officials reiterated their stance that some US tariffs must be rolled back for a phase one deal. “The Chinese side believes that if the two sides reach a phase one deal, tariffs should be lowered accordingly,” Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters, adding that both sides were maintaining close communication.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said deputy negotiators held a call in the last 24 hours and are “actively working” toward a deal. He said talks are on track but the United States is not bound by an “artificial” deadline.