- Thomas Peter – Pool/Getty Images
- President Donald Trump on Thursday said a trade deal with China is still “possible” this week, saying that Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote him a “beautiful letter” calling on both sides to work together.
- Trump’s reference to Xi’s correspondence was similar to remarks made about improved relations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year.
- The US increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products at 12:01 a.m. on Friday.
- The Trump administration has said the increase is in response to China backtracking on previous trade agreements, which China denies.
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President Donald Trump said on Thursday that a trade deal with China is still “possible” this week, explaining that Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote him a “beautiful letter” calling on both sides to work together.
“He just wrote me a beautiful letter,” Trump told reporters on Thursday. “Let’s work together. Let’s see if we can get something done.”
Delegations from the world’s two largest economies are meeting in Washington to hash out a still unfinished trade deal. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrived in Washington this week for the 11th round of talks as both sides are still locked in an intensifying trade war.
The US increased tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese products just after midnight on Friday. The tariffs target chemicals, building materials, consumer electronics, and other goods. Following the tariff increase, the Associated Press reported that China said it would take “necessary countermeasures” in response; details were not provided.
Both sides failed to reach a deal on Thursday to prevent the move but agreed to continue talks on Friday.
“We were getting very close to a deal, then they started to renegotiate the deal,” Trump told reporters on Thursday. “So I have no idea what’s going to happen.”
The Trump administration has said the increase stems from China backtracking on previous trade agreements. A spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce denied the United States’ claims and said China “keeps its promises.”
Sources told Reuters that a previous draft of the deal showed China had pushed back on several key US complaints, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers, and currency manipulation.
“And I like the president a lot,” Trump said of Xi. “He’s a friend of mine. But I’m representing the USA, and he’s representing China. And we’re not going to be taken advantage of anymore.”
Chinese state media on Thursday published a scathing editorial, which said China was “well-prepared” for US trade escalation.
“A variety of plans are in place, such as countermeasures for any tariff rise, and favorable policies to minimize losses for Chinese enterprises,” Communist Party tabloid Global Times said in an editorial.
“Mentally and materially, China is much better prepared than its US counterpart.”