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Trump sees no Xi summit by tariff date, stocking trade worries

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US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping meet business leaders in Beijing China on Nov 9 2017

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. Then he added, "Unlikely". But the USA president said the two would "maybe" meet later.

If the talks do not succeed, Trump has threatened to increase US tariffs on Chinese imports.

With a March 1 deadline fast approaching, United States and Chinese officials resume negotiations next week to prevent escalation of a trade dispute that has major implications for the global economy. "But that is off in the distance still, at the moment", he told reporters.

Asian stocks tumbled Friday on worries the USA and China won't reach an agreement.

As to whether the two leaders would meet before the deadline, the President said: "No". Rather, it was due to the amount of work that still needed to be done by negotiators.

Chinese officials have said their policies do not coerce technology transfers. But the president and other senior administration officials have publicly and privately stated the negotiations are going well and that the two sides are continuing to bridge their differences at every round of talks.

Businesses have been planning for the scenario of rising tariffs at the beginning of next month, by rushing imports and stockpiling goods - although that doesn't mean companies are embracing increased duties.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin revealed that progress was being gradually made, but owned that there still exists a lot to cover to achieve a collateral and mutual trade agreement between the two economic giants.

A delay in the meeting between Trump and Xi isn't a deal breaker, says Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute.

Mr Trump meeting Mr Xi makes it more likely any deal will last.

Both Trump and his top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, have said that the March 2 deadline is a firm date and that the United States will not extend the timeline, which the two Presidents agreed upon during the G20 Summit in Argentina a year ago.

The March 2 tariff hike (if it happens) won't come as a surprise to the business world. That marks the end of a 90-day tariffs truce mooted after Trump and Xi met in December.

Earlier on Thursday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow indicated that it was unlikely that the two leaders would meet before the deadline, but they could still hold talks later.

The US has threatened to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 per cent from 10 per cent if a deal is not reached by March 2.

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