World

China trade talks progressing ‘nicely’: Trump

But US President warns deal must be 'right' before he will commit to it

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Saturday that trade talks with China were moving along "very nicely", but Washington would make a deal with Beijing only if it was the right deal for the United States.

Mr Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews before leaving for a visit to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that the talks had moved more slowly than he would have liked, but China wanted a deal more than he did.

"The trade talks with China are moving along, I think, very nicely and if we make the deal that we want it will be a great deal and if it's not a great deal, I won't make it," he said.

"I'd like to make a deal, but it's got to be the right deal."

He added: "China very much wants to make a deal."

"They're having the worst year they've had in 57 years. Their supply chain is all broken, like an egg, they want to make a deal, perhaps they have to make a deal, I don't know, I don't care, that's up to them."

Mr Trump said there had been incorrect reporting about US willingness to lift tariffs, which he said had brought in tens of billions of dollars for the US and soon "literally hundreds of billions of dollars".

'INCORRECT REPORTING'

"There was a lot of incorrect reporting, but you will see what I'm going to be doing," he said.

"There's a difference on tariffs, but we can always get tariffs. The level of tariff lift is incorrect," Mr Trump said in reference to news reports. He did not elaborate.

Officials from both countries said on Thursday that China and the US had agreed to roll back tariffs already in place on each others' goods in a "phase one" trade deal to end a damaging trade war, but the idea has been met with stiff opposition within some quarters of the Trump administration.

On Friday, Mr Trump, in comments that hit stock prices and the dollar, said he had not agreed to a tariff rollback.

"I haven't agreed to anything," he told reporters then.

A former Chinese Finance Minister said on Saturday that the China-US trade war could ease somewhat but wider conflicts between the world's two largest economies would continue.

Mr Lou Jiwei said: "Look at the next development, there could be compromises in the trade war at a certain stage, and we have seen signs of compromising."

Mr Lou, now an official with a body that advises China's Parliament, made the remarks to an economic forum in Beijing.

Washington has adopted a strategy to contain China's economic rise by preventing the country from climbing up the global value chain, Mr Lou said.

"Containment and counter-containment are inevitable and that will be a long-term issue," he said.

But Mr Lou also said it would be difficult for the US to decouple from China, given the potential disruption to global supply chains and the impact on businesses.

The US tariffs on Chinese exports will not fundamentally resolve its trade deficit, which is caused by the high US government debt ratio and a low household savings rate, he said.

China should open up its economy wider to foreign investors, but it should not rush to relax its capital controls, Mr Lou said.- REUTERS

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