“We’re getting very close to making a deal, that doesn’t mean a deal is made because it’s not,” Trump said during a meeting with vice premier of China in the Oval Office Thursday.
“Within the next four weeks, or maybe less, or maybe more, whatever it takes, something very monumental could be announced,” he continued.
The potential trade deal with China would mark the closure of a bitter trade war between the two countries that has included retaliatory tariffs and on-and-off again trade negotiations for over a year.
If a deal is reached, Trump said, he and President Xi would come together for a summit and expressed his hope to see the Chinese president, while also expressing thanks for what he said was a “beautiful letter” from Xi that had just been delivered to him.
“If we have a deal, there will be a summit. I would say we'll know over the next four weeks,” he said. He added that he thinks there’s a “very good chance” there will be a summit expressed his intention for it to be held in the United States, saying “it will be here.”
While the president sounded an optimistic tone about the chances for a deal to be reached, his top trade negotiators were far more cautious in their remarks during the meeting Thursday.
US Trade Robert Lighthizer expressed satisfaction with progress that has been made but qualified that “there are still some major, major issues left."
“I’ll quote my Chinese friends when they said the last mile of a marathon is the hardest and the longs. So we hope for the best but we’ll see what happens,” said Peter Navarro, who leads the House National Trade Council.
“Making headway is terrific, making headway is terrific,” said Larry Kudlow, the Director of the National Economic Council.
Asked what issues remain to be negotiated before a deal can be finalized, President Trump cited intellectual property and tariffs.
“We're talking intellectual property and theft. We're talking about certain tariffs, it's very important that certain elements of the tariff that is in discussion right now,” he said. “But we've agreed to far more than we have left to agree to. I think I can say some of the toughest things have been agreed to.”