America, China a ‘little bit closer’ to reaching trade agreement: Trump

OSAKA, Japan — America and China are getting “a little bit closer” to reaching an agreement, says U.S. President Donald Trump, adding it would be “historic” if the two countries could reach a “fair trade deal.”

Trump made the comments as he sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 in Osaka — a meeting that Canada is watching closely as it looks to free two detained Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

While delivering opening remarks in front of television cameras, Trump said he and the Chinese president have spent a lot of time together, adding they have ”become friends.”

Trump said he looks forward to working with China and that the U.S. wants to do something that will “even it up” with respect to trade, noting it is “actually very easy to do.”

“I actually think that we were very close and then … something happened where it slipped a little bit,” Trump said. ”Now we’re getting a little bit closer, but it would be historic if we could do a fair trade deal.”

Ahead of the meeting with Xi, Trump also said in a separate bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the issue of Huawei — a Chinese technology company —would come up in the discussions with China.

A central point of friction between the U.S. and China is the decision by the Americans to deem Huawei as “incompatible” with its security interests and that of its allies.

Trump has also pledged to use the face-to-face as an opportunity to raise the issue of two detained Canadians.

Ahead of the G20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the president in Washington, where Trump committed to doing “anything” to help Canada.

In December, after Huawei’s chief financial officer was arrested on a U.S. extradition warrant in Vancouver, Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were taken into custody in arrests deemed “arbitrary” by the Canadian government.

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