Trump on China: 'I like the deal we have now'

Geraldine Edwards
November 30, 2018

US President Donald Trump is expected to bring a team of nine aides to Buenos Aires for talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, though it is not known whether all nine will sit down at the dinner table with Xi on Saturday evening, according to a source who was briefed on the situation.

"We don't have to agree on all the issues and indeed that may be impossible but we need to talk".

Higher auto tariffs on China would have a limited impact. The two leaders would also agree on a "framework" for further talks, US officials such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have said publicly. That tension surfaced again on Thursday.

Trump was coy about whether he wanted a deal with China as he left the White House on Thursday to fly to the G20 Summit in Argentina.

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Trump didn't elaborate further. That's a stark contrast to the reports issued over at least the previous two decades that barely mentioned the topic. A meeting with Trump has not been ruled out by the White House.

Economists and critics of the president's trade policies point out duties are paid by importers and thus constitute a tax on USA industry and consumers that is not paid by China.

Some Chinese goods entering the U.S. are now taxed at 10 percent, but that will rise to 25 percent at the beginning of next year.

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Trump on Thursday also reiterated that USA tariffs were generating tax revenues: "What we have right now is billions and billions of dollars coming into the United States in the form of taxes", he said.

The U.S. and China, the world's largest economies, have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle this year. "Otherwise, lets just make our Country richer than ever before!"

Despite Kudlow's repeated insistence that Trump sees cause for optimism, he also underlined the tough conditions that the administration wants to impose on Beijing.

A Chinese response to USA demands sent earlier this month amounted to a rehash of previous commitments and pledges that Xi had made in recent speeches, according to people familiar with the discussions.

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Asked if China was seeking to prevent the imposition of additional USA tariffs at the meeting, the ministry's spokesman, Gao Feng, said economic teams from both nations were in contact to implement a "consensus" reached by Trump and Xi during a phone call this month. A ceasefire, analysts say, would at least delay the risk of a further escalation in the trade war while talks proceed.

Trump lashed out at General Motors Co after the company's recent announcement of USA layoffs and plant closures and threatened additional tariffs.

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