Trump Says There May Be No Trade Talks with China in September

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press at the White House as he departs for Cincinnati to hold a campaign rally in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2019. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty

President Donald Trump said Friday that the next round of trade talks expected in September might not happen.

“We’ll see whether or not we keep our meeting in September. If we do, that’s fine. If we don’t, that’s fine. But it’s time that somebody does what we’re doing,” Trump said to reporters outside the White House.

The U.S. and China were reportedly close to a trade deal in May when China attempted to renege on enforcement provisions U.S. negotiators believed were already agreed to. Trump raised the tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent and talks broke off.

Talks restarted last month after a meeting between President Trump and Chinese dictator Xi Jinping. But the first face to face meetings in Shanghai failed to make progress after China demanded the tariffs be immediately repealed and the U.S. drop sanctions against Huawei. In response, President Trump ordered a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods not yet subject to import duties.

On Monday, China appeared to retaliate by allowing the value of its currency to decline to the lowest level in a decade. The U.S. responded by labelling China a currency manipulator. Chinese officials then moved to support the currency at a higher level, somewhat easing fears that trade tensions were escalating.

China also announced that it was halting orders of U.S. agricultural products, a blow to American farmers for whom China is a very big market.

“We are talking to China. We are not ready to make a deal, but we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “China wants to do something, but I’m not doing anything yet. Twenty-five years of abuse. I’m not ready so fast.”

Trump has repeatedly argued that the U.S. has more resilience to withstand economic pressures of a trade war than China.

“We’re just bringing the system back into order,” Trump said Friday. “We have all the cards. We’re doing well. Our country is doing fantastically well.”

Trump also said that the U.S. government will not do any business with Huawei.

“We are not going to do business with Huawei. And I really made the decision. It’s much simpler not doing any business with Huawei,” Trump said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t agree to something if and when we make a trade deal.”

A White House spokesperson later told Edward Lawrence of Fox News that this was only meant to apply to the federal government and that the Commerce Department will still allow U.S. companies to sell some technology to Huawei under special licenses.

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