'They want to make a deal, but do I?': Trump plays coy as he announces plans to meet with China's top trade negotiator

Associated Press
  • President Donald Trump announced Thursday he would meet with the top Chinese trade negotiator at the end of the week.
  • But he sought to sow uncertainty around whether the two sides would be able to take steps to defuse economic tensions.
  • “Big day of negotiations with China,” the president wrote on Twitter. “They want to make a deal, but do I? I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump announced Thursday he would meet with the top Chinese trade negotiator at the end of the week, but sought to sow uncertainty around whether the two sides would be able to take steps to defuse economic tensions.

“Big day of negotiations with China,” the president wrote on Twitter. “They want to make a deal, but do I? I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House.”

The comment came just as a delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He began negotiations with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Washington, the first high-level since nearly a dozen rounds collapsed in May.

Trump regularly wavers between expressed optimism toward a trade deal with China and renewed tariff threats. The two sides are scheduled to increase tariffs on thousands of each other’s products on October 15, raising the rate of some import taxes to as high as 30%.

Bloomberg reported in recent days that China would be open to a partial trade deal with the US, meaning it would not necessarily address structural issues that were central to the start of the dispute. Those include laws around intellectual property theft and the forced transfer of foreign technology.

White House officials have continued to discuss potential investment restrictions and other punitive measures against China, however, according to a source familar with the matter.

Top negotiators are scheduled to continue discussions through Friday, despite reports on Wednesday that China could depart Washington earlier than planned.

“We are not aware of a change in the Vice Premier’s travel plans at this time,” said Judd Deere, a White House spokesperson.

Now read: The ‘Warren Buffett of bonds’ tells us why he’s ‘obsessed’ with climate change investing – and where he sees the biggest opportunities

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.