Trump: US prefers ‘big deal’ with China
WASHINGTON, D.C.: US President Donald Trump said on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) he would prefer to strike a comprehensive trade bargain with China, in comments days before top US and Chinese officials are due to resume trade talks in Washington.
But with little sign the two sides have made progress in bridging the distance between them, speculation has mounted in recent months they may reach a deal, which addresses only some of Washington’s extensive grievances.
“I think it’s not what we prefer at all. My inclination is to get a big deal,” Trump told reporters when asked if he could accept a partial agreement.
“We’ve come this far. We’re doing well. I would much prefer a big deal and I think that’s what we’re shooting for,” he added.
But he acknowledged that his preferred outcome is not certain.
“Can something happen? I guess. Maybe. Who knows. But I guess it’s unlikely.”
With eight days to go before the next round of punitive tariffs is due to hit, Beijing’s top trade envoy Liu He will meet with the US Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin beginning on Thursday, Chinese state media reported Tuesday.
The high-level Chinese delegation also includes Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, central bank governor Yi Gang and vice minister of industry and information technology Wang Zhijun.
The vice minister for agriculture Han Jun has also been added to the negotiating team after China last month announced that it had started buying US soybean and pork.
But the talks come amid rising tensions between the two countries, after the US Commerce Department on Monday blacklisted 28 Chinese entities that it says are implicated in rights violations and abuses targeting Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.
The move, which bars the named entities from purchasing US products, came months after Washington banned technology giant Huawei and other Chinese firms from government contracts over alleged Iran sanctions violations.
No linkage guaranteed
Liu has said privately he would make a proposal that makes no commitments addressing the far-reaching reforms to Chinese industrial policy or subsides that Washington is seeking, Bloomberg reported Sunday, citing an unnamed source.
Lower-level talks have been underway since last month.
The discussions will focus on areas where Washington has made far-reaching demands since last year: intellectual property rights, the forced transfer of proprietary technologies, agriculture and enforcement, the White House statement said.
The next round of US tariff increases is set to take effect on October 15, as US duty rates on $250 billion in Chinese goods rise to 30 percent.
Trump has claimed China’s weakening economy puts Beijing under pressure to make a deal.
But he also has said in recent months Chinese officials are dragging their feet in hopes of continuing negotiations with another administration should Trump fail to win reelection in 2020.
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