Trump dampens chances of trade deal with China

Trump dampens chances of trade deal with China

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Trump dampens chances of trade deal with China

U.S. and Chinese officials have faced a new round of tough trade talks as U.S. President Donald Trump discounted chances of a deal, but Beijing extended a potential olive branch.

Trump met with a Chinese delegation headed by Vice Premier Liu He on May 17 as talks aimed at easing frictions between the economic powers got underway.

Liu He is in Washington this week for talks with U.S. officials led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin aimed at heading off a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

“The two sides agreed to continue the discussions on Friday,” the White House said.

But speaking earlier in the day about the prospects for the talks to be successful, Trump was not optimistic, saying: “I tend to doubt it.”    

China has become very spoiled... Because they always got 100 percent of whatever they wanted from the United States,” he said.

Trump unleashed a barrage of criticism against former U.S. administrations for allowing Beijing to take advantage of the United States.  

 “We have been ripped off by China. And an evacuation of wealth like no country has ever seen before given to another country that’s rebuilt itself based on a lot of the money that they’ve taken out of the United States,” he said.

“Trade has been a total one-way street,” Trump said. 

“And I explained to (China’s) President Xi (Jinping) that we can’t do that anymore.”    

But hours later, China’s commerce ministry announced that it was terminating its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe into U.S. sorghum imports, saying punitive measures would increase costs for the Chinese livestock industry and consumers.

Provisional duties had been imposed last month. Tariffs on sorghum would hurt farmers in states such as Kansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma, which are also major Republican-leaning states that make up Trump’s electoral base.

Refutation from Chinese side

Separately, the Chinese delegation has offered a $200 billion reduction in its annual trade surplus with the US by increasing American imports and other measures, according to Bloomberg News, which cited a Trump administration official. Such a reduction is among a list of U.S .demands.

But foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the “rumors are false” and the “consultations are indeed still in progress and the talks are constructive.”    

Lu also said the decision to drop the sorghum probe should not be “over-interpreted.”             

Trump also had harsh words for the European Union, which is likewise at loggerheads with Washington over US export tariffs on steel and aluminum.

“The European Union has been terrible to the United States on trade,” he said. 

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