WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States and China would soon announce a new site where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign a “Phase One” trade deal 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!”
Chile’s decision to cancel the Nov. 16-17 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile 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 it expected to finalise a deal “within the same time frame.”
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.
U.S. 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 U.S. demands for a timetable of Chinese purchases of U.S. farm products.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was travelling in the Middle East, told Reuters on Wednesday that U.S. 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 the negotiations were progressing well.
The White House intends to offer some U.S. locations as alternatives for the APEC summit, according to one source familiar with U.S. 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.
(Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by David Clarke and Chizu Nomiyama)