President Donald Trump said Thursday he still believes China “would love to make” a new trade deal with the United States and might now regret backtracking on some agreements negotiators for the two countries had reached.
“We had a deal and they broke the deal,” Trump said at the White House. “I think if they had to do it again they wouldn’t have done what they did.”
Trump contended that tariffs he has imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports has prompted some manufacturers in China to move their production to other countries.
“I think we’re doing very well with China,” he said, adding that tariffs have had little effect on inflation in the U.S.
Trade talks between officials of the world’s two biggest economies broke off recently, but U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he likely will travel to Beijing “in the near future” to continue negotiations.
Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui accused the U.S. of engaging in “naked economic terrorism” in the trade war. He leveled the accusation in Beijing during a news briefing on President Xi Jinping’s official visit to Russia next week.
Beijing and Washington have been engaged in a trade war since last July, when Trump first imposed tariffs on hundreds of Chinese products worth billions of dollars, leading to a set of retaliatory tit-for-tit tariff increases. Trump and Xi had agreed to de-escalate the trade war last December while they started negotiations to reach a lasting deal.
But Trump recently boosted taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods after accusing Beijing of reneging on promises to make structural changes to its economic practices. He has threatened to add tariffs to all Chinese imports, which could amount to levies on another $300 billion worth of Chinese exports to the U.S.
Zhang said while China does not want a trade war, it is not afraid of it, and described the Trump administration’s actions as “economic bullying.”
Beijing countered Trump’s levies by announcing new tariff increases on $60 billion worth of U.S. exports that will take effect Saturday.
An editorial Wednesday in The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, warned that China could end exports of rare earth minerals to the U.S. as leverage in the trade war. Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements used in everything from smartphones and other high-tech electronics to military equipment.