Donald Trump says ‘big progress’ being made on trade deal with China

Click to play video: 'Trump, Xi, discuss US-China relations and passing of passing of  George H. W. Bush at G20 dinner' Trump, Xi, discuss US-China relations and passing of passing of George H. W. Bush at G20 dinner
WATCH (Dec. 1): Trump, Xi, discuss US-China relations and passing of passing of George H. W. Bush at G20 dinner – Dec 1, 2018

WASHINGTON/BEIJING — U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday that he had a “long and very good call” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that a possible trade deal between the United States and China was progressing well.

READ MORE: Cost of trade war in billions for both U.S. and China in 2018

As a partial shutdown of the U.S. government entered its eighth day, with no quick end in sight, the Republican president was in Washington, sending out tweets attacking Democrats and talking up possibly improved relations with China.

The two nations have been in a trade war for much of 2018, shaking world financial markets as the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods between the world’s two largest economies has been disrupted by tariffs.

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Trump and Xi agreed to a ceasefire in the trade war, deciding to hold off on imposing more tariffs for 90 days starting Dec. 1 while they negotiate a deal to end the dispute following months of escalating tensions.

“Just had a long and very good call with President Xi of China,” Trump wrote. “Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute. Big progress being made!”

READ MORE: Trump mulls executive order that would ban companies from using Huawei, ZTE: Reuters

Chinese state media also said Xi and Trump spoke on Saturday, and quoted Xi as saying that teams from both countries have been working to implement a consensus reached with Trump.

“I hope that the two teams will meet each other half way, work hard, and strive to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial and beneficial to the world as soon as possible,” Xi said, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Having canceled his plans to travel to his estate in Florida for the holidays because of the government shutdown that started on Dec. 22, Trump tweeted, “I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal.”

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READ MORE: Donald Trump’s trade war is hurting the people he promised to help

The Republican-controlled Congress was closed for the weekend and few lawmakers were in the capital.

The shutdown, affecting about one-quarter of the federal government including 800,000 or so workers, began when funding for several agencies expired.

Congress must pass legislation to restore that funding, but has not done so due to a dispute over Trump’s demand that the bill include $5 billion in taxpayer money to help pay for a wall he wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border.

WATCH: U.S. calls for release of Canadians detained in China

Click to play video: 'U.S. calls for release of Canadians detained in China' U.S. calls for release of Canadians detained in China
U.S. calls for release of Canadians detained in China – Dec 14, 2018

The wall was a major 2016 campaign promise of Trump’s, who promised then that it would be paid for by Mexico, which has steadfastly refused to do so. Trump has since demanded that U.S. taxpayers pay for it at an estimated total cost of $23 billion.

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He sees the wall as vital to stemming illegal immigration, while Democrats and some Republicans see it as an impractical and costly project. The standoff over Trump’s demand for funding will be a test for Congress when it returns next week.

READ MORE: Trump willingness to ‘intervene’ on Huawei case leaves Canada in tough spot over ex-diplomat’s arrest

In the interim, thousands of employees of federal agencies such as the Homeland Security, Justice, Commerce, Interior, Transportation, Agriculture and other departments were staying at home on furlough or soon to be working without pay.

WATCH: U.S. sees ‘hard deadline’ for China trade deal

Click to play video: 'U.S. sees ‘hard deadline’ for China trade deal' U.S. sees ‘hard deadline’ for China trade deal
U.S. sees ‘hard deadline’ for China trade deal – Dec 9, 2018

For instance, members of the U.S. Coast Guard will receive their final paychecks of the year on Monday, the service said in a statement on its website on Friday after previously warning that payments would be delayed due to the shutdown.

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“The administration, the Department of Homeland Security , and the Coast Guard have identified a way to pay our military workforce on Dec. 31, 2018,” the service website read.

That paycheck will be their last until the government reopens.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also said on Friday that it would resume issuing new flood insurance policies during the shutdown, reversing an earlier decision.

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