US-China to keep working on trade deal as latest talks wind up

China and the U.S. made progress toward a much-anticipated trade deal in their latest meetings and will keep talking on the remaining issues, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

High-level U.S. and Chinese officials met in Washington over the past few days, hard on the heels of discussions in Beijing the previous week. Future talks will be conducted in “various ways,” Xinhua reported on Saturday, without providing details.

Chinese negotiators, led by Vice Premier Liu He, and their U.S. counterparts wrapped up the latest set of talks on Friday. They discussed the text of an agreement regarding technology transfers, intellectual property protections, non-tariff measures, services, agriculture, trade balance and enforcement, Xinhua said.

Xinhua said in a separate commentary on Friday that “the remaining issues are all hard nuts to crack.”

Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, said on Friday that negotiators plan to “be in touch” by phone next week. “There is no letup,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

The White House released a statement Friday evening saying that while progress had been made, “significant work remains, and the principals, deputy ministers, and delegation members will be in continuous contact to resolve outstanding issues.”

Trump, speaking to reporters on Friday, hailed the latest round of talks as a “big success” but said he didn’t want to predict whether a deal would be reached.

The president said before meeting Liu on Thursday in the Oval Office that the U.S. and China were close to an agreement, with an announcement possible in the next four to six weeks.

A month ago, Trump was touting the idea of a “signing summit” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which aides suggested at the time could take place at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Now, there are no assurances. “If we have a deal, then we’ll have a summit,” the president said on Thursday.

The nine-month trade war between the world’s largest economies has disrupted supply chains, whipsawed markets and weighed on the world economy. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde this week warned both sides to avoid the “self-inflicted” wound of a protracted trade conflict. Ros Krasny & Miao Han, Bloomberg

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