"There's some good signs, we'll see what happens," Trump said in Buenos Aires, where he was attending the G20 summit and was to have dinner with Xi on Saturday.
"If we could make a deal, that would be good. I think they want to, and I think we'd like to."
Trump has slapped punishing tariffs on more than USD 250 billion in Chinese imports so far this year, demanding that Beijing end allegedly unfair trade practices and reverse industrial policies criticized by other major economies.
China responded with its own tariffs on USD 110 billion in US goods.
Ahead of the G20, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow detailed what Trump wants out of China.
"China should change its practices and come into the community of responsible trading nations," Kudlow said, stressing that he considers the US economy in far better shape than China's to weather a prolonged trade war.
"We are in a position to deal with it and handle it very well," he told reporters.
China will have to give way on "fairness and reciprocity," he said, warning that US concerns over intellectual property theft and China's forced technology transfers "must be solved". (AFP) SCY
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