Trump says China trade talks are going very well

President Donald J. Trump walks from Marine One to the Oval Office as he returns on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, DC.

Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Thursday’s trade talks between the U.S. and China went well as the world’s two largest economies try to end a damaging trade war. 

The president made the comments before he traveled to Minnesota for a campaign rally. As Trump spoke, the day’s discussions were wrapping up as negotiators were set to head to dinner. 

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, which is designed to track the S&P 500 index, rose in after hours trading following Trump’s comments. U.S. stock futures trading opens at 6 p.m. ET.

The two sides resumed talks in Washington following a week of rising tensions. Washington and Beijing hope to end a conflict marked by tariffs slapped on hundreds of billions of dollars in goods.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer helmed the team of American negotiators during Thursday’s discussions. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He led the delegation from Beijing.

As Mnuchin left the talks Thursday, CNBC asked how the discussions went. He merely smiled.

Earlier in the day, Trump said he planned to meet with Liu at the White House on Friday. His tweet boosted optimism about the talks, as some reports had said the Chinese team could leave after Thursday’s discussions.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies increased in the days leading up to the discussions. The U.S. first blacklisted 28 Chinese entities allegedly involved with the detention and surveillance of Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region, where an estimated 1.5 million people are held in camps. The Trump administration then imposed visa restrictions on officials allegedly involved with the practices human rights groups have called abuses.

Liu struck a positive note heading into the talks on Thursday.

“The Chinese side has come with great sincerity and is willing to make serious exchanges with the U.S. on issues of common concern such as trade balance, market access and investor protection, and promote positive progress in the consultations,” Liu told Chinese state-run media agency Xinhua.

The talks come only days before an Oct. 15 deadline when the U.S. plans to hike tariffs on at least $250 billion in Chinese goods to 30% from 25%.

— CNBC’s Stephanie Dhue contributed to this report

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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