WASHINGTON: Chinese trade officials intend to “make a deal” when they arrive in Washington this week for talks, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, reviving hopes for negotiations that had appeared to hang by a thread.
However, Trump continued to ratchet up pressure on Beijing, pressing ahead with plans to raise US duty rates on $200 billion of Chinese merchandise — a prospect that has sent shivers through the global economy since last year.
US officials on Monday effectively cancelled a six-month trade truce, accusing Chinese negotiators of backsliding on major commitments agreed to thus far in months of talks.
“China has just informed us that they (Vice-Premier) are now coming to the US to make a deal,” Trump said on Twitter, referring to top trade envoy Liu He.
But Trump suggested he was comfortable either with making a deal or with leaving the tariffs in place.
“We’ll see but I am very happy with over $100 Billion a year in Tariffs filling US coffers…great for US, not good for China!” Meanwhile, the office of the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released an official notice that duty rates on a vast array of Chinese-made electrical equipment, machinery, auto parts and furniture would more than double after midnight (0400 GMT) on Friday.
Following Trump’s first Twitter announcement on Sunday regarding tariffs, stock markets around the world sank for two trading days. Wall Street was about flat shortly after 1400 GMT on Wednesday.
The world’s top two economies have exchanged tariffs on more than $360bn in two-way trade, gutting US soy bean exports to China and weighing on the manufacturing sectors in both countries.
Trump also tweeted on Wednesday that Chinese officials mistakenly hoped they could hold off to negotiate with a “very weak” future Democratic president “and thereby continue to ripoff the United States… for years to come.”