Trump top trade envoy sees progress in USMCA talks with Congress


His boss, President Donald Trump, cheered markets earlier Tuesday by saying he spoke with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and they'll have an "extended meeting" later this month, boosting hopes for a breakthrough in stalled negotiations.

US and Japanese representatives held a series of talks last week and are slated to meet again on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka later this month.

A wide range of companies apprised an inquest in Washington that they have only a handful of options other than China for making clothes, electronics, and additional consumer products as the Trump Administration devises 25 percent tariffs on abiding US-China trade.

The US and China said their presidents will meet in Japan next week to relaunch trade talks after a month-long stalemate, triggering a rally in financial markets. "Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting", Trump said in a tweet Tuesday morning.

US trade czar Robert Lighthizer says he will work with Democrats to do whatever it takes to ratify the new North American free trade deal. "We also hope that the USA will treat Chinese companies fairly", he said, adding that the trade teams of the two countries will maintain communication on how to resolve their differences.

He said the administration will push China to make fundamental changes to its economic policies.

Following Trump's comments, Xi in a statement said that China and the USA should solve problems through equal dialogue, Xinhua reported. "I happen to think that tariffs, for our country, are very powerful", Trump said. Trump met with Xi at the previous G-20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last December. A Wall Street Journal analysis found China accounts for more than 90 percent of the imports across 273 categories of goods.

The speaker has established working groups of House Democrats to work on revisions to the agreement's labor, environment, pharmaceuticals and enforcement terms.

Front Altair leaves Iran waters after Gulf of Oman attacks
Russia, which has close - if sometimes strained - links to Iran, warned through its foreign ministry against "hasty conclusions". Tehran has denied being involved and accused the U.S. of promoting an "Iranophobic" campaign against it.

The two countries have been fighting a damaging trade war over the past year.

Trump had requested the call between the two leaders, according to Xinhua.

Cui Fan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said there were still other areas where China wanted to cooperate with the US.

Rob Portman - who held Lighthizer's job during the administration of President George W. Bush - enthusiastically urged the new agreement's adoption and said it's "going to be great for the people I represent in OH". I know what won't work, and that is talking to them because we've done that for 20 years.

"If the United States only wants to escalate trade frictions, we will resolutely respond and fight to the end".

Along with trade, Trump and Xi are expected to discuss the US leader's efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal, where negotiations also have stalemated.

Canadian pork farmers now hold a little more than half of the Japanese market and will continue to compete "head to head" with USA farmers even if Lighthizer succeeds in winning lower tariffs, said Martin Lavoie, chief executive of Canada Pork International.