Amid meetings between Chinese and U.S. leaders this week in Washington, D.C., Trump said Friday that he will need to meet with Xi to firm up the bigger components of a proposed trade deal between the two nations.
"Ultimately, I think the biggest decisions and some even smaller decisions will be made by President Xi and myself," Trump said, according to a pool report. "And we expect to have a meeting some point in the not too distant future and I can only say talks are going along well, but we're going to have to see what happens."
Mnuchin said the two sides still need to make progress in trade meetings this week. The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese and U.S. officials agreed to extend this week's meetings another two days.
"I think our expectation is to conclude this quickly and, if we get to the point over the next few days of making progress, recommending a meeting for you and President Xi in March," Mnuchin said.
The U.S. is approaching a March 1 deadline, when tariffs on Chinese imports will increase from 10 percent to 25 percent. Trump said he is willing to extend that deadline if he sees "substantial progress being made."
In a prepared statement read at Friday's meetings, Xi shared Trump's optimism.
"It is my hope that our two sides will continue to work together in a spirit of mutual respect and ... cooperation and could redouble our efforts so as to meet each other halfway and reach an agreement that works for our mutual benefit, Mr. President," Xi said.