Trump says US, China to announce new venue to ink trade deal soon

After Chile abruptly cancelled a November summit, the US and China scramble to find a new place to sign a trade deal.

    China's commerce ministry said in a statement on Thursday that bilateral talks will continue to proceed as previously planned, and the lead trade negotiators from both the United States and China will speak by telephone on Friday [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]
    China's commerce ministry said in a statement on Thursday that bilateral talks will continue to proceed as previously planned, and the lead trade negotiators from both the United States and China will speak by telephone on Friday [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

    United States President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the US and China would soon announce a new site where Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign a "phase one" deal to end their 16-month trade war after Chile cancelled a planned summit set for mid-November.

    "China and the USA are working on selecting a new site for signing of Phase One of Trade Agreement," Trump said on Twitter. "The new location will be announced soon. President Xi and President Trump will do signing!"

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    Chile's decision to cancel the November 16-17 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in its capital, Santiago, threw a wrench in plans for Trump and Xi to sign a deal on the sidelines.

    Trump offered no specifics on when a new meeting might be set, but the White House said on Wednesday that it expected to finalise a deal "within the same timeframe".

    China's commerce ministry said in a statement on Thursday that bilateral talks will continue to proceed as previously planned, and the lead trade negotiators from both countries will speak by telephone on Friday.

    US and Chinese negotiators have been racing to finalise a text of the "phase one" agreement for Trump and Xi to sign next month, a process clouded by wrangling over US demands for a timetable of Chinese purchases of US farm products.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was traveling in the Middle East this week, told Reuters on Wednesday that US discussions with China had been productive, and work on finalising the text of the deal was continuing. China's commerce ministry also said on Thursday that negotiations were progressing well.

    The White House intends to offer some US locations as alternatives for the APEC summit, according to one source familiar with US thinking. Alaska and Hawaii could be potential options that would be acceptable to China, said a second source familiar with the issue.

    China has also suggested Macau as a possible venue, according to one China trade source familiar with the issue.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency