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US President Donald Trump says he has no plans to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of a deadline for reaching a trade deal.

CNBC reported Thursday that a senior administration official said the two leaders are "highly unlikely" to meet before a March 1 deadline, after which the Trump administration is scheduled to more than double tariff rates on $200 billion worth of Chinese products.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters on Thursday that the leaders of the two economic superpowers could still meet later.

President Trump ruled out a meeting with his counterpart Xi Jinping before a crucial March trade-war deadline.

The remarks confirmed comments from administration officials who said the two men were unlikely to meet before the deadline, dampening hopes of a quick trade pact and sparking a drop in United States stock markets.

Meanwhile, the stock market in the U.S. experienced a sharp fall on Thursday after Trump confirmed that he would not meet Xi Jinping anytime before the trade deal deadline. A source familiar with the talks expressed skepticism about that report to Reuters, and Lighthizer said last week that tariffs had not been a subject of the talks.

In a normal year, China buys about 35 million tons of soybeans from the U.S. So far this year China's purchases have been 20 percent of what they were in the last marketing year, according to the American Farm Bureau. Rather, it was due to the amount of work that still needed to be done by negotiators. The U.S. and China sought to resolve deep-seated trade issues in just three months, and analysts largely agreed the short time frame did not provide sufficient time for matters such as intellectual property and technology transfer.

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Negotiations between Chinese and USA officials are still continuing, The New York Times reported. The White House did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Mr Lighthizer and Mr Mnuchin do not have a mandate to bring back a draft deal from their Beijing trip, the person said.

-North Korea summit on February 27-28 in Vietnam - to clinch a trade agreement.

The remarks were the first drastic shift in tone since Washington and Beijing stepped up negotiations last week, hoping to agree to a framework for a deal by the deadline.

The March 2 tariff hike (if it happens) won't come as a surprise to the business world.

US and Hong Kong media have reported that Trump and Xi may meet in late February - possibly around the time of a U.S.


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