A deal to end Washington’s trade war with China “could happen sooner than you think”, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, about two weeks before another round of high-level bilateral talks. Trump made his latest comments about the trade war he started nearly 15 months ago a day after blasting China in a speech delivered to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which sparked an angry response from Beijing’s foreign ministry. “We've picked up trillions of dollars and they've lost trillions of dollars and they want to make a deal very badly,” Trump told reporters in New York. “It could happen. It could happen sooner than you think.” Trump frequently characterises revenue collected by the US government from punitive tariffs on Chinese goods as a win for America. These tariffs of 15 to 25 per cent now apply to about two-thirds of China’s approximately US$500 billion exports to the US. Data from the Treasury Department shows that as of June 30, it collected US$63 billion in tariffs over the preceding 12 months. Meanwhile, data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics last week showed domestic industrial production, which measures the country’s industrial output, including manufacturing, mining and utilities, grew at 4.4 per cent last month. That figure was down from 4.8 per cent in July, which in itself was the lowest rate since February 2002. Still, views differ over which side is winning, with many US companies, and industry associations representing them, losing patience. “The back and forth and tit-for-tat has been really problematic, and we’ve just been suffering from whipsaw,” said Ker Gibbs, president of the American Chamber of Commerce, in Shanghai. Industry’s hopes of an imminent deal have been proven wrong before, particularly in May when a deal that negotiators said was “90 per cent of the way” suddenly fell apart. In that case, US officials cited broken commitments on the part of Beijing, while their Chinese counterparts denied that the two sides were so close. “There was no question it was going to happen, and then all of a sudden [there was] the walkaway,” said Gibbs, speaking on Tuesday at an event at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “So it’s been a challenging time, for sure.” China, Hong Kong and Singapore’s growth forecasts cut by Asian Development Bank The possibility of another breakdown in talks and an escalation of tensions weighed heavily on the minds of companies operating in China, said Don Williams, managing partner and chief representative at the Sheppard Mullin law firm in Shanghai. “My clients fear escalation of tensions and don’t really have a true ‘plan B’,” said Williams, adding there was particular concern among his consumer-facing clients that deepening bilateral friction could cause a backlash from Chinese buyers. If the Chinese government chose to stoke the patriotic sentiment of the public, said Williams, “American companies and brands could suffer significant damage and it may take a very long time to reverse that.” Trump spent much of his UN speech on Tuesday on China, saying Beijing had “an economic model dependent on massive market barriers, heavy state subsidies, currency manipulation, product dumping, forced technology transfers and the theft of intellectual property and also trade secrets on a grand scale”. China to buy more US farm products as Trump rules out ‘bad deal’ He claimed China pursued economic growth at the expense of US interests through means such as technology theft and said the WTO needed “drastic change”, calling for China’s status as a developing country to be revoked. Speaking in New York after Trump’s address, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said China-US relations had “once again come to a crossroad”, adding that “to say some kind words about US-China relations needs courage for the time being”. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday that he and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would hold their next round of trade negotiations with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He in two weeks’ time.