Today, Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America, warned that he could walk away from a trade deal with China if it were not good enough. His warning comes even as his economic advisers touted “fantastic” progress towards an agreement to put an end to the dispute with the Asian country.
China and the United States have imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each others’ goods which affected financial markets, disrupting manufacturing supply chains and shrinking the farm exports of the US.
In Hanoi, Trump stated: “I am always prepared to walk.” His remarks came after cutting short a summit meeting with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, that failed to reach a nuclear deal.
He added: “I’m never afraid to walk from a deal. And I would do that with China, too, if it didn’t work out.”
The United States had been poised to increase the tariffs on approximately $200 billion (£151 billion) in imports from China to 25 percent from 10 percent after Friday if no deal was reached by the time. However, last Sunday, Trump announced that he would delay the increase in duties because of the progress in the negotiations with officials from China last week.
Since then, the officials of the Trump administration have offered few details regarding the discussions.
In an interview with the CNBC today, Larry Kudlow, a White House economic adviser, stated: “The progress last week was fantastic.” He noted that Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, read Chinese officials “the riot act” in discussions last week.
He continued: “We are heading towards a remarkable, historic deal.”
The chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett, was similarly upbeat. In an interview with Fox Business Network, he said that Lighthizer and Liu He, the Chinese Vice Premier, drafted “sketches of an agreement on intellectual property theft and trade … that really makes sense for both parties.”
He added: “If you look at the paperwork we’ve got and the line-by-lines that people have sketched out, it’s just about as favourable as you could hope for.”
He noted that the final details would need to be approved by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.