No U.S.-China Trade Deal in Place; Deadline Closing In

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SINGAPORE-Asian markets tumbled on Friday after President Donald Trump said he doesn't plan to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping before a tariffs truce ends in March.

Reuters reports the usa president said "No" when questioned if he would meet with Xi before March 1, and when asked whether there would be a meeting within the next month he remarked: "Not yet". He then said the two would "maybe" meet after that.

Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are set to meet their Chinese counterparts next week for trade talks.

The news that the two leaders were now unlikely to meet spurred a sharp selloff in United States stocks, dashing the optimism that had been building that the countries were progressing towards a deal before tariffs on Chinese imports rise to 25 percent after the March 1 deadline.

Earlier, towards the end of January, President Trump revealed in a tweet that he would be expecting to meet his counterpart to negotiate on some of the most hard issues that the two countries have been holding for decades.

Mr Trump told reporters last month that he planned to meet Mr Xi late this month, saying there was a "good chance" of striking a deal.

"I could see where that would impact the markets because, obviously, we had a lift in the month of January from optimism surrounding these trade talks", said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. U.S. Treasury bond yields also dropped following the move of investors in securing their safety in sovereign U.S. debt.

The trade talks between Chinese and U.S. officials are however continuing, reported The New York Times.

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The remarks were the first drastic shift in tone since Washington and Beijing stepped up negotiations last week, hoping to agree to a framework for a deal by the deadline.

Asked whether there could be a meeting with Xi around March, Trump said, "Not yet".

But top White House economist Larry Kudlow told Fox Business on Thursday that while Trump was "optimistic" about prospects for a deal, there remained a "sizeable distance" separating the two sides.

Unless American and Chinese negotiators come to a new agreement, the U.S.is expected to raise import taxes from 10 percent to 25 percent for $200 billion in Chinese goods.

What happens to tariff rates on March 2 remains unclear. Three sources familiar with the matter indicated that report was wrong.

Also pressuring markets was a report out Thursday that President Trump is planning to sign an executive order next week which would ban Chinese telecommunications equipment from US wireless networks.

Chinese officials have said their policies do not coerce technology transfers.

"They're hoping for more success", he said.

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