Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Trump 'likes' idea of waiting to make a trade deal with China

Trump 'likes' idea of waiting to make a trade deal with China

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on December 3 backed President Donald Trump's remarks earlier today that a trade deal with Beijing might have to wait until after the 2020 presidential election.

In an interview with Fox Business on Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence said that the president is leveraging the strong US economy in trade negotiations with China and around the world.

"In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now and we'll see whether the deal's gonna be right - it's gotta be right", Trump told reporters in London, where he was attending a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, adding that he has "no deadline" to complete an agreement. When asked if he had a deal deadline, he added: "I have no deadline, no ... But they want to make a deal now, and we'll see whether or not the deal's going to be right", Trump told reporters in London on Tuesday, triggering a sharp fall in stocks and a flight to government bonds.

Trump's Tuesday argument that it is he, rather than China, who is in control of the trade deal did not appear to convince the stock market, translating into a 280-point plummet in the Dow Jones Industrial Index. "That's why I think when France makes a statement like they made about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, that's a very unsafe statement for them to make".

Jude Woodward, author of "The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?", joined Radio Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary on Tuesday to discuss Trump's trade deal announcement and what may come about as a result of the delay.

At the same time, Washington's desire to maintain pressure on Beijing could negatively impact the US' relations with other countries, as Chinese, multinational giants such as Huawei have business dealings in countries all over the world - including nations allied with the US. That's despite the fact that Trump's strategy in trade talks has always been to downplay his desire for a deal and slow-walk a negotiating partner.

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Ross said it was theoretically possible that Washington could use tariffs authorized by the World Trade Organization under a separate case over aircraft subsidies to impose tariffs on European auto imports. "Trump's latest comments are a ploy to regain the upper hand in these negotiations".

"The Chinese government believes that President Trump is desperate for a deal before the end of the year, when the race for the presidential election will really heat up", Shah said.

On Monday, Trump said he would hit Brazil and Argentina with trade tariffs for "massive devaluation of their currencies".

The trade negotiations were further complicated after Trump signed the bill in support of Hong Kong protesters just before Thanksgiving. In a more anticipated move, the U.S. Trade Representative later in the day announced plans for tariffs on US$2.4 billion of imports from France as retaliation for a new tax that hits American tech companies.

On Monday, before travelling to London, Trump said United States legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong was not making trade negotiations with China easier, but he believed Beijing still wanted a deal with the US. "I watch jobs. Jobs are what I watch; I watch making the proper deal", he said.

The law "doesn't make it better, but we'll see what happens", Trump said before departing for the London NATO summit.

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