Global Economy

Trump sees no deadline for China deal, prefers to wait for 2020 polls

LONDON: President Donald Trump signalled he would be willing to wait for another year before striking a trade agreement with China, casting doubt on the likelihood of a phase-one accord within weeks between Washington and Beijing.

“I have no deadline,” he told reporters on Tuesday on London when asked if he wanted an agreement by year end. Stocks dropped in Europe and US equity futures sold off as Trump’s comments indicated no urgency to reach a deal by Dec. 15, which US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday called a “logical deadline”.

The Trump administration has threatened to impose tariffs on more Chinese imports starting that day. Those levies would hit American consumer products such as smartphones, toys and children’ clothing just before the Christmas holiday. “If nothing happens between now and then, the president has made quite clear he’ll put the tariffs in — the increased tariffs,” Ross said on Fox Business Network.

A flurry of US trade moves in the past 24 hours has eroded investor optimism that Trump would ease up on tariffs that have slowed the global economy. On Monday, his administration unexpectedly announced plans to reinstate tariffs on steel and aluminum shipments from Brazil and Argentina, and then released plans for $2.4 billion in levies against French imports. In between those announcements, the US said it was considering increasing the scope of tariffs levied against the EU over illegal Airbus subsides.

Rather than ratcheting down trade tensions, Trump is indicating confidence that his import taxes are good for America. “US Markets are up as much as 21% since the announcement of Tariffs on 3/1/2018 -and the US is taking in massive amounts of money (and giving some to our farmers, who have been targeted by China)!” Trump tweeted on Monday.


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