US-China trade spat: Trump says 'good chance' of deal

China and the United States have a good chance of ending their ongoing trade spat, US President Donald Trump believes.

“We have a very good chance of making a deal,” Trump said ahead of a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. He added the US is now in trade talks with the European Union, and also discussing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada.

The trip to China will be the first for Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary. Notably, his predecessors went to China in their first months in office.

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands after making joint statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017 © Damir Sagolj

The recent trade dispute has led to a series of tit-for-tat trade barriers being imposed by Washington and Beijing. In April, the US announced 25 percent tariffs on $ 50 billion in Chinese imports. China responded with similar trade barriers.

The spat intensified last week after Washington banned American firms from selling parts and software to Chinese tech company ZTE Corp for seven years. US suppliers provide up to 30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment and the move could disrupt China’s plan to build the world’s largest 5G network by the end of this decade.

In response, China slapped a 179 percent tariff on American sorghum imports. Sorghum is a crop used to feed livestock and can be made into a liquor known as maotai, which is popular in China.

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