China wants a trade deal, but will defend its interests if necessary

Senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington

More work remains on a deal that will ensure that Beijing will follow through on its commitments, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress last week.

There are competing forces inside the Trump administration that are debating how wise it would be to lift the duties on the first day of a deal because keeping some of the tariffs in place would allow the U.S.to maintain leverage.

In the United States, manufacturing activity dropped in February to its lowest since November 2016, consumer confidence fell short of forecasts, inflation was tame and US personal income fell in January for the first time in more than three years.

President Trump is now bringing up a "signing summit" by which President Xi Jinping of China will be meeting the President at his Florida resort.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers complained to the Trump administration on Monday that its response to rights abuses against China's Muslim minority was inadequate months after saying it was looking into imposing sanctions.

"Meanwhile, it seems that most of the good news on trade is now priced into asset markets".

"Speculation that both the US and China are close to signing a deal will keep market players slightly upbeat", Nicholas Mapa and Prakash Sakpal of ING said in a report.

Many details still needed to be worked out, including the terms of an enforcement mechanism to ensure that Beijing follows through on pledges to make changes to policies to better protect US intellectual property, end forced technology transfers and curb industrial subsidies.

But with President Donald Trump backing away from a March 1 deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese goods, signs of slowing USA growth and a re-election campaign heating up, they say Mr Trump's appetite to hold out for deep, immediate changes may be waning.

Bloomberg reported Friday that the US and China were close to finalizing a trade deal.

The two nations have imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each others' goods, roiling financial markets, disrupting manufacturing supply chains and shrinking US farm exports.

The NYT says the deal would "largely require Beijing to make big purchases of American agricultural and energy goods and to lower some barriers that prevent American companies from operating in China".

As a repercussion of an additional tariff to U.S. goods, shipments of United States farm products had been slashed substantially in the past seven months.

Ahead of a busy week of data releases and expected markets-moving events including the latest Brexit developments, indices got off to a positive start as investors cheered reports saying that the tariffs stand-off between the world's top two economies might soon be resolved.

As previously scheduled, the US President had also delayed tariffs on Chinese goods.

According to the paper, both sides believe talks have progressed far enough that Trump and Xi could reach a formal agreement at a potential meeting around March 27. They said Washington would remove most sanctions on Chinese imports.

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