Washington: President Donald Trump said he doesn’t want to make a partial trade deal with China and that voters won’t punish him for the ongoing trade war in his 2020 bid for re-election.
“I am not looking for a partial deal. I am looking for a complete deal,” Trump said Friday at the White House during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The ongoing trade war between the two nations has roiled global markets and worsened in May when talks broke down. US and Chinese officials held discussions in Washington this week with the aim of setting up high-level talks in early October. Trump has touted the resumption of negotiations, and last week delayed a planned tariff increase scheduled for Oct. 1 on $250 billion in Chinese goods as “a gesture of good will.”
Trump said that he has an “amazing” relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping but that right now they’re having “a little spat.”
“I think the voters understand that,” Trump said. “I don’t think it has any impact on the election.”
Trump added that it would probably be “positive” for his re-election prospects if the two countries reached a deal.
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said recent developments have created a “positive atmosphere” surrounding the standoff, which has been fuelled by accusations of bad faith from both sides.
But on Friday, a planned visit by Chinese officials to farms in Montana next week was abruptly cancelled, the state’s farm bureau said. US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Thursday the Chinese were planning the trip as a “goodwill” gesture. The Montana bureau said the Chinese embassy told it their delegation had “an adjustment of their agenda” and would return to the US earlier than planned. Nebraska announced China cancelled visits there, too.
Major US stock indexes fell amid concern that trade tensions again were worsening.
Trump administration officials have discussed offering an interim trade agreement to China that would delay and even roll back some US tariffs in exchange for Chinese commitments on intellectual property and agricultural purchases.
A limited deal would likely jolt markets and ease the economic burden caused by the conflict as Trump ramps up his 2020 re-election campaign. The president has repeatedly denied that the tariffs have hurt the US economy, saying China is bearing the burden.
Senior US and Chinese officials last met in late July, when US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Shanghai. But those talks yielded little progress. The US afterward slapped tariffs on an additional $110 billion of Chinese goods, and Beijing retaliated by announcing their own tariffs.