Washington/Palm Beach : President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping wrapped up their first summit by announcing a 100-day plan to improve strained trade ties, the only tangible announcement after their meetings that were overshadowed by the US military strikes in Syria.
Trump aides, who participated in the two-day talks held at the US President’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, described the meetings as productive and said the two leaders exhibited “positive” chemistry.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Friday said the two sides agreed to speed up trade talks to help close a lopsided imbalance in China’s favour, a common campaign-trail complaint of Trump’s.
During the meetings, Trump highlighted the challenges caused by the Chinese government intervention in its economy and raised serious concerns about the impact of China’s industrial, agricultural, technology and cyber policies on America’s jobs and exports, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
Spicer said Trump underscored the need for China to take concrete steps to level the playing field for American workers, stressing repeatedly the need for reciprocal market access.
The 100-day plan to improve trade ties was the only tangible announcement to come out of the meetings that few expected to be much more than a get-acquainted exercise, The New York Times said.
China is now the largest trading partner of the US. Last year, two-way trade reached USD 519.6 billion, compared to USD 2.5 billion in 1979 when the two nations established diplomatic ties.
The talks were overshadowed by a crisis in Syria as Trump, just before his his dinner with Xi, ordered a massive military strike on a Syrian air base in retaliation to a “barbaric” chemical attack on civilians allegedly by embattled President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The two leaders agreed that their first meeting was “positive and fruitful”, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said. PTI