WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Thursday that China’s president, Xi Jinping, would be coming soon to the White House, fueling anticipation that the world’s two largest economies may be close to finishing a trade deal.
Mr. Trump, in remarks to White House staff, parents and children gathered on the lawn for Take Your Children to Work Day, did not indicate when the meeting might take place or what would be on the agenda. He has suggested in the past that Mr. Xi would travel to the United States for a signing ceremony once the countries have a final deal.
His comments come as negotiators from the United States prepare to head to China on Sunday for another round of trade talks, which will be followed by talks next month with Chinese officials in Washington.
For months, Mr. Trump’s trade advisers have been jetting between Washington and Beijing as they try to resolve a trade war that has begun to inflict economic damage on both sides of the Pacific. The deal is likely to include provisions that would improve intellectual property protections, require China to buy more American goods and prevent Beijing from forcing American companies to transfer technology to Chinese partners as a condition of doing business there.
Those in business have high expectations for a resolution to the trade tensions, which have created uncertainty for multinational firms that rely on the Chinese market. While the potential for a deal appears to be much higher than in the past, several sticking points remain.
Both sides want relief from the tariffs that each country has slapped on the other’s goods. The United States has levied tariffs on nearly half of its imports from China, while China has retaliated with tariffs on more than 70 percent of its imports from the United States.
But the countries remain at odds over how many of these tariffs will come off, and when. Negotiators have also struggled to settle on an enforcement mechanism that will give the Trump administration confidence that China will uphold its end of the deal.
The White House announced this week that Robert E. Lighthizer, the top trade negotiator, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, would travel to Beijing for further negotiations that begin Tuesday. Their Chinese counterpart, the vice premier Liu He, would return to the United States for talks that start May 8.
The United States and China had been looking to schedule a summit meeting between their presidents to sign the deal in May or June, people familiar with the situation said.
In his remarks on Thursday to the assembled children and parents, the president also mentioned Mr. Xi as he marveled at the history of the White House.
“The White House is a place of history. 1799,” the president said. “That’s a long time. Now when President Xi comes from China, and I say 1799, he thinks that’s a modern house because their culture is very old — 5,000 years. But this is really something that no matter where you go, no matter the time, no matter the date, there is nothing like our great White House.”