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Trump and Xi will not meet before planned tariff raise

The US president confirmed he would not meet with Xi this month

Xi Jinping and Donald Trump last met at a G20 summit in Buenos Aires

Xi Jinping and Donald Trump last met at a G20 summit in Buenos Aires (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s 90-day trade war ceasefire agreement will end without the two meeting to resolve differences, Trump confirmed at the Oval Office on Thursday.

Reuters reports the U.S. president said “No” when questioned if he would meet with Xi before March 1, and when asked whether there would be a meeting within the next month he remarked: “Not yet. Maybe. Probably too soon. Probably too soon.”

It was initially expected Trump and Xi would meet alongside the president’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un between Feb. 27 and 28 in Da Nang, Vietnam. Trump has now dashed China’s hopes for a resolution this month, confirming earlier reports suggesting the two would not meet any time soon.

Trump and Xi agreed to a a 90-day truce at a G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Nov. 30 last year. Both sides said they would not add new tariffs after Jan. 1.

U.S. companies caught in the trade war are now worried Trump will follow through on his initial threat to increase tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent. Reuters reports the news has “prompted a sharp selloff in U.S. stocks.”

The increased uncertainty for both businesses and markets is likely to give Taiwanese firms operating in China more pause for thought.

Companies in a range of sectors already began scaling back operations in China when tariff increases hit last year.Taiwan’s government announced last month it was seeking to devise incentives to draw Taiwanese industries back to the island, but is yet to announce concrete plans.