Donald Trump said on Monday that the US is not ready to make a trade deal with China at a press conference alongside Japanese leader Shinzo Abe while on a state visit to Japan.
“I think they probably wish they made the deal that they had on the table before they tried to renegotiate it. They would like to make a deal. We’re not ready to make a deal,” he said.
Trump said American tariffs on Chinese goods “could go up very, very substantially, very easily,” which doesn’t invite analysts to believe the negotiations will resume any time soon.
Talks stalled earlier this month after Trump decided to ramp up tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese goods and blacklisted giant tech company Huawei.
China in turn retaliated to the tariffs by raising levies on $60bn worth of US goods.
“I think sometime in the future China and the United States will absolutely have a great trade deal, and we look forward to that,” Trump said. “Because I don’t believe that China can continue to pay these, really, hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs. I don’t believe they can do that.”
Chinese officials responded to Trump’s comments and the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in Beijing on Monday: “ The US has had various voices on China-U.S. trade talks. Sometimes it is said that an agreement will be reached soon, and sometimes that it is difficult to reach an agreement.”
“In the same period of time, China’s position has always been the same. China has always believed that the differences between any two countries should of course be resolved through friendly consultations and negotiations.”
A commentary published by the official Xinhua News Agency recently said that “the United States is attempting to squeeze an unequal trade deal out of China, using measures such as tariff hikes and targeting its tech companies”.