WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to sign a long-awaited interim trade deal could be delayed until December as discussions on terms and location continue, a senior administration official told Reuters on Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was still possible not to conclude a “phase one” deal aimed at ending the devastating trade war, but the prospect of a deal remains likely.
He said dozens of venues had been proposed for the meeting, which was due to start on the sidelines of the mid-November summit currently being canceled for Asia-Pacific leaders in Chile.
London is one possible location where the two leaders could meet after a NATO summit due to be attended by Trump on Dec. 3-4, the official said. “It is under discussion but nothing has been decided,” he said.
Suggested places include locations in Europe and Asia, but Europe is more likely, with the possibility of choosing Sweden or Switzerland. The state of Iowa, proposed by Trump, appears to have been excluded, the official said.
China’s latest bid to drop more US tariffs will be discussed, but that is not expected to derail the interim agreement.
The official said China is believed to see a quick deal as its best chance of getting favorable terms, given the pressure Trump is facing from his impeachment investigations, which Congress is considering as he seeks re-election in 2020.
“Negotiations are continuing and there is progress in terms of the text of the phase one agreement,” White House spokesman Jude Derry said. “We will notify you when we have a declaration on where to sign.”
The Chinese embassy in Washington has yet to respond to requests for comment