Trump Cautious About US-China Trade Deal

He was speaking from the White House, before a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. A lot of really good things have been negotiated and agreed to. "But we're not there and we hope this week to get closer", he said. The doomsayers are now suggesting the strong manufacturing reports from both America and China were driven by fragile hopes that a trade agreement will be reached within the next three months and gloom will resume if that does not happen. "I think we have a very good chance of getting there".

Trump took questions at the Oval Office during his meeting with China's top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He.

"President Xi, who is a strong man, I call him "king", Trump told the crowd. It will be here.

Still, Trump said, "We've agreed to far more than we have left to agree to". If we don't have a deal, we're not going to have a summit, ' he said. The two sides had appeared to make some progress on the issue in January, when China approved a handful of GMO crops for import. "I would say we'll know over the next four weeks", he said. "We've discussed it at length", he added. "If that doesn't work, we'll close the border". Trump didn't announce a summit with Xi - a meeting Trump has said is critical to finalising an agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said there were still some "major, major issues" to resolve and that Liu's commitment to reform in China was encouraging.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in Beijing today that new substantial progress has been made on the China-US economic agreement.

While some reform pledges by Beijing are largely set, including an agreement to avoid currency manipulation, an enforcement mechanism to ensure that China keeps its pledges and the status of US tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods must be resolved.

"Even once we are done with the USA and China, the USA will turn to Europe", Laurence Boone, chief economist at OECD, told CNBC's Steve Sedgwick at the Ambrosetti Workshop in Italy on Friday. The US had imposed $250 billion worth tariffs on Chinese imports which included $50 billion on technology, 25% on industrial goods and $200 billion in products including furniture and 10% on construction materials.

Markets are wobbly throughout the week as traders wait for the USA government's jobs report Friday and prepare to get a new round of company earnings reports weekly. While we have seen clear progress in recent months, the last part of the negotiation is expected to be the most hard and drawn out.

He also vowed to eliminate the United States' chronic trade deficit with China, yet saw it climb to a record US$419.2b in 2018. Trump has said he wants a "great deal" with China and has hinted that tariffs could remain in place for some time.

Trump must not settle for a short-term political deal that doesn't include real, enforceable ways to hold China accountable for its promises, he demanded.

  • Tracy Klein