Trump won't meet Xi before trade deal deadline

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In a December 1 summit in Argentina, Trump and Xi agreed a truce in which both sides pledged to refrain from imposing further tariffs on each other's imports for 90 days while trying to complete talks to end the trade war.

FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump listens as he meets with China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Jan. 31, 2019.

The US is showing much flexibility and is thus willing to extend the deadline beyond the March 1st self-imposed deadline - just for the two sides to agree to end the truth once and for all.

When asked by reporters if he planned to meet with Xi next month, the President said, "Not yet".

The concerns are driven by what some aides and others see as Trump's appetite to strike a deal to calm financial markets.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil lost 21 cents to $52.43 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

As to whether the two leaders would meet before the deadline, the President said: "No". "But that is off in the distance still at the moment", added the White House Economic Advisor.

Trump claims that he is in a warm relationship with the Chinese president. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would advise the president on any future talks with Xi after they get back to the U.S.

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

Canada's main stock index posted a triple-digit decline in late-morning trading as the Toronto market was hit by broad-based weakness and US markets sank into the red.

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.

Such reforms have been a sticking point in talks so far.

The US has threatened to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 per cent from 10 per cent if a deal is not reached by March 2.

Last week, Chinese and U.S. negotiators said they made "important progress", China's state media reported following the conclusion of two days of high-level talks in Washington, DC.

"If we do make headway, and the president thinks we're close enough that he can close the deal on major issues, then I think he'll want to have a meeting and do that", he told reporters. Three sources familiar with the matter indicated that report was wrong.

A study released Wednesday by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a campaign opposed to tariffs, said an increase to 25% would reduce employment by 934,000 jobs and GDP by 0.37%.