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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a group of business executives and free trade economists that he believes the trade war with China could come to an end by the 2020 presidential election, according to people who attended the gathering, CNBC reported.

Pompeo told CNBC earlier Tuesday that he was not sure about where things will ultimately stand between the US and China.

“I don’t know the answer to that. I have spoken to [US] Secretary [of the Treasury Steven] Mnuchin almost every day,” Pompeo told CNBC. “I haven’t been at the center of these actual negotiations. I’ve seen them make real progress.”

Economics writer Stephen Moore, who attended this private lunch, said Pompeo, speaking at the lunch, sounded somewhat bullish on the prospects of an agreement.

“He still thinks that we can get a deal before the election,” Moore told CNBC. “I think we would all agree that it would be better for the country.”

Pompeo, according to Moore, pointed out that there continue to be hurdles to an immediate agreement.

US President Donald Trump has been levying tariffs on a variety of Chinese goods since the start of his administration, while China has been retaliating with trade barriers of its own.

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