Xi Jinping, China’s president, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump look on during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China,. (Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Trump Says He Got Letter From Xi, Leaders May Speak by Phone

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said he received a “beautiful letter” from Chinese President Xi Jinping and that the two leaders would probably speak by phone, as a delegation from Beijing arrives in Washington to negotiate a potential trade deal.

Speaking Thursday at the White House, Trump said it’s still possible that the U.S. and China reach a deal this week.

“I think it’ll be a very strong day,” Trump said. But, he added, “I have no idea what’s going to happen.”

Trump Says He Got Letter From Xi, Leaders May Speak by Phone

“Our alternative is an excellent one,” the president said. “It’s an alternative I’ve spoken about for years. We’ve taken well over $100 billion from China in a year.”

Trump said Xi’s letter expressed optimism about working together and, when asked whether the two leaders would meet, he said they would probably speak by phone. “It was their idea to come back” to talks, he added.

China’s top trade envoy, Vice Premier Liu He, is due to land in the U.S. capital on Thursday afternoon and go immediately into discussions with Trump’s top negotiator, Robert Lighthizer. U.S. tariffs on some $200 billion in Chinese goods are set to increase to 25% just hours later in a move that economists and businesses say risks being the most economically consequential of all of Trump’s tariff moves so far.

U.S. stocks pared declines after Trump’s remarks.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.