Donald Trump has stoked fresh hopes the United States’ trade war with China is nearing its end, following a conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The United States President tweeted: “Just had a long and very good call with President Xi of China. Deal is moving along very well.”
He added the trade deal would be “very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute”.
The leaders of the world’s two biggest economies have been at loggerheads for much of 2018 economically, with each side taking it in turns to impose increasingly expensive tariffs on trade the other’s country.
World markets have been shaken as the tariffs disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods between the countries.
But in December, a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel emerged, as Trump and Xi agreed a 90-day ceasefire on tariffs starting on 1 December as they negotiate a deal.
Now, it appears the agreement is coming good, with Chinese state media also admitting the two spoke on Saturday, quoting Xi as saying negotiators from both countries had been working to implement an agreement reached with Trump.
“I hope that the two teams will meet each other halfway, work hard, and strive to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial and beneficial to the world as soon as possible,” Xi said.
China's foreign ministry added on Sunday that the countries’ ties now “stand at a historic new starting point”.
“Both sides should stick to rationally and objectively viewing the other side's strategic intentions, strengthen strategic communication and promote strategic mutual trust to prevent strategic misjudgments,” said spokesman Lu Kang.
But despite signs of promise on foreign policy, the US government remains shut down, after Trump demanded Congress pass legislation to throw $5bn of taxpayer money at building a wall on the Mexican border to stop migrants entering the country, something the house refuses to do.
The shutdown, affecting about one-quarter of the federal government including around 800,000 workers, began on 22 December, and looks set to continue into the new year.