During a press conference in Arizona on Tuesday, Aug. 18, President Trump again expressed his discontent with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) handling of the pandemic and reported that all dialogue is suspended.
Last Saturday was the date originally agreed to evaluate the development of phase 1 of the trade agreement signed at the beginning of the year.
Asked by a journalist about the talks with the CCP and the trade agreement, President Trump replied, “China [CCP] talks were postponed. You were supposed to have a review of this (…) I postponed talks with China. You know why? I don’t want to deal with them now. I don’t want to deal with them now. With what they did to this country and to the world, I don’t want to talk to China right now.”
According to the South China Morning Post, the stipulated trade talks were intended to review progress after six months of the so-called phase one trade agreement between the two countries. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was supposed to hold a video conference with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but it was postponed indefinitely.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said information about the talks between the two countries’ authorities would be released “in due course.”
The president’s statement came a day after the president’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said phase one of the agreement was “on track” in an interview with CNBC. During the interview he also praised U.S. export purchases from China, but criticized the CCP for working with Democrats to seek Trump’s removal.
while in Arizona, President Trump attacked the Democrats and especially his opponent Joe Biden, saying,“If Joe Biden ever got in, China would own the United States. They’d own it. They’d own every one of these people. They’d own this building. They’d own the United States—because Biden would give them everything for two reasons: Number one, he’s not smart; and number two, he’s weak. China would own our country.”
He also said that if the Democrats won the next election they would immediately develop trade relations with Iran. These would be agreements that, according to President Trump, would always be detrimental to U.S. interests.
U.S.-China trade agreement
After intense negotiations between the two countries, in early 2020, the United States and the CCP signed phase one of what promised to be a major trade agreement. In what marked the beginning of the agreement, the United States pledged to phase out all tariffs recently imposed on Chinese imports in exchange for the CCP increasing its imports of U.S. goods and services by a total of $200 billion.
The removal of tariffs would be effective if phase 2 of the agreement is achieved. But given the events of the last few months and recent statements by President Trump, it would not seem feasible to move the agreement forward, at least for now.