Donald Trump has announced he is delaying plans to increase tariffs on Chinese goods after “significant progress” in talks to end the punishing US-China trade war.
The US president was planning to ramp up duties on $200bn (£153bn) in Chinese imports this Friday – with tariffs increasing from 10% to 25%.
But on Twitter, Mr. Trump said a number of breakthroughs have been achieved by Washington and Beijing on contentious areas including intellectual property protection, technology transfers, currency, and agriculture.
Mr. Trump added that he is prepared to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to conclude an agreement as long as “additional progress” is made by both sides.
He suggested that the summit could take place at Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, where the two world leaders have held talks in the past.
And late on Sunday evening, he hinted there could be “very big news over the next week or two” if all goes well in negotiations.
Speaking to US governors at the White House, the president said: “China has been terrific. We want to make a deal that’s great for both countries and that’s really what we’re going to be doing.”
Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi have been under immense pressure to resolve the trade dispute, which has unnerved investors and cast a shadow over the global economy.
The US and China have slapped import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods – rattling financial markets.
The conflict between the world’s two biggest economies began when the US accused China of stealing technology and forcing foreign companies to hand over trade secrets, in what has been regarded as an aggressive push to challenge America’s technological dominance.
Reaction to the delayed tariff increases has been mixed.
While Republican politicians have described the thawing tensions as “encouraging news” that a full-blown trade war can be avoided, critics are claiming that the president may have given up crucial leverage.
Philip Levy, a White House economist under former president George W Bush, said he can see the odds now tilting in Beijing’s favor – and warned the US has “now lost the advantage of a deadline”.
In a brief news report, China’s official Xinhua news agency echoed Mr. Trump’s perspective on the latest talks in Washington and said: “substantial progress” has been made.
Markets have already reacted positively to the news – suggesting that Wall Street will open on a firmer footing on Monday morning.
Despite the optimism, Trump’s lead trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, warned on Friday that major hurdles between the two countries remain.
The president says it is “a very good weekend” for the US and China as he abandons plans to impose 25% duties on $200bn of goods.