- President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested China had reneged on commitments to buy agricultural goods.
- That came just as trade negotiations were set to resume in Shanghai, casting doubt on the prospect of a breakthrough between the world’s largest economies.
- Trump suggested that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and their Chinese counterparts would have to make significant progress at talks in Shanghai or risk "no deal at all."
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President Donald Trump accused China of reneging on past commitments just as trade negotiations were set to resume Tuesday, casting doubt on the prospect of a breakthrough between the world’s largest economies.
"China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 – was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now – no signs that they are doing so," the president wrote on Twitter, referring to concessions he said President Xi Jinping agreed to last month.
He continued: "That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through … My team is negotiating with them now, but they always change the deal in the end to their benefit."
Trump suggested that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and their Chinese counterparts would have to make significant progress at talks in Shanghai or risk "no deal at all."
"I think China is willing to give up a lot, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to accept it," Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One for a trip to Virginia.
He repeated a false claim that China has paid for the steep tariffs he placed on its exports to the US last year, though there is a widespread consensus that those costs fall on American companies and consumers.
Nearly a dozen rounds of trade talks fell apart in May after Washington said Beijing reversed on concessions in a draft deal, prompting Trump to raise tariffs on a large swath of imports from China. He has since renewed threats to expand duties to virtually all Chinese products.
Trump has seized on a slowing Chinese economy, which posted its weakest pace of growth in nearly three decades in the second quarter. He taunted on Monday that China may have to wait until the 2020 election next November for a deal, adding that it would get a better deal from the US if a Democrat beat him.
"They should probably wait out our Election to see if we get one of the Democrat stiffs like Sleepy Joe," he said. "Then they could make a GREAT deal, like in past 30 years, and continue…to ripoff the USA, even bigger and better than ever before."
The Trump administration has struggled to win concrete commitments from China on issues identified last year in its Section 301 investigation, which has led to more than $350 billion worth of tariffs between the largest economies. Those included intellectual property theft, the forced transfer of foreign technology and large-scale subsidies.
The negotiations were set to focus on those issues and run through Wednesday. They were also expected to cover non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, the trade deficit, and enforcement, according to a White House spokesperson.
The Treasury Department referred comment requests to the Office of the US Trade Representative, which did not respond to multiple emails.
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