WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump’s top economic aide said talks to ease a major trade dispute between the United States and China were “going well,” but a deal remained elusive on Friday. Trump has demanded China reduce its trade surplus with the United States, sparking a dispute that has seen the globe’s two largest economic powers exchange threats of tit-for-tat sanctions.
Trump met Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday and his aides followed up with a second day of talks to try to avoid a damaging trade war. The “negotiation is going well,” said Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council. “No deal yet, to be sure, and it’s going to take a while,” he told reporters at the White House.
“They are meeting many of our demands,” he claimed, “I believe they want to make a deal.” Trump has threatened to hit China with tariffs on up to $150 billion of imports, prompting Beijing to threaten US agricultural exports.
On Thursday, Trump unleashed a barrage of criticism against former US administrations for allowing Beijing to take advantage of the United States, and he discounted chances of settling the trade dispute with Beijing.
“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.
“China has become very spoiled… Because they always got 100 percent of whatever they wanted from the United States,” he said.
The White House is wary of hurting largely Republican-voting farm states or damaging the economy before legislative elections this November.
But Trump is also keen to appear tough on trade and fulfil a campaign promise to make a “deal” that better benefits the United States.