Biotech crops still a sticking point in US-China trade deal

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Negotiations continued in Washington on Wednesday after meetings last week in Beijing, spearheaded by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

U.S. President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker walk to the Rose Garden of the White House to deliver a joint statement on trade July 25, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Financial markets were little changed in the wake of Mr Trump's latest remarks, after a modestly volatile day on hopes the end may be nigh in the year-long US-China trade war. "Both sides are working hard to wrap up the talks as soon as possible".

But, the USA and European Union have since publicly disagreed on whether agricultural trade barriers would be part of the trade equation.

Both US and Chinese officials have projected cautious optimism for months but momentum has slowed as the two sides tussle over whether and when Washington should remove the punishing tariffs it imposed a year ago on Chinese goods. "I do think that because we got direct guidance by two great President Xi and President Trump", he said.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. has found agreement on some of the toughest points in trade talks with China.

Having a healthy and fair long-term trade regime in place is in the best interests of China and the US, and both sides are reportedly angling to have a high-profile signing ceremony with President Trump and President Xi Jinping this month.

"President Xi, who is a strong man, I call him "king", Trump told the crowd.

The U.S. and China hope to conclude trade talks by the end of this month, but are struggling with two major issues - how to enforce the agreement and how many of U.S. President Donald Trump's tariffs will be dropped.

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The issue has been a source of tension between the two countries for years.

But he's cautioning that without a deal, it would be tough for the USA to allow China to trade with America.

"This is an epic deal, historic - if it happens", said Mr Trump. "Progress is being made at a very rapid pace".

China bought about 60 percent of US soy exports, worth about $12 billion, before the ongoing U.S. The White House referred questions to USTR, which didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

Trump is slated to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He around 4:30 p.m. 'The (Trump) administration has been equally clear that they want to keep some of the tariffs in place as a way to have leverage over China fulfilling its obligations under whatever final package is reached'.

He also expressed appreciation for Xi's decision to crack down on the powerful opioid fentanyl, saying that it is of great importance to Americans, and for the anti-drug cooperation between China and the US.

The two sides are still haggling over how to enforce the deal, which Mr Lighthizer has said is the fundamental issue in the talks.

Though Trump has been pushing for the Chinese leader to travel to the U.S.to sign a trade deal, the Chinese leader is unlikely to do so unless the agreement is 100 percent complete. A person familiar with the text said China so far agreed only to consider avoiding retaliation if the USA took action against Beijing, but stopped short of a formal pledge to refrain from counter-punching.

The two sides remain deeply at odds over punitive U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

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