Trump claims se­ri­ous trade ne­go­ti­a­tions with China to be­gin

The Saline Courier - - NEWS - As­so­ci­ated Press

BIARRITZ, France — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, fac­ing pres­sure to scale back a U.s.-china trade war con­tribut­ing to a global eco­nomic slow­down, claimed Mon­day that se­ri­ous talks will be­gin soon although an­other round has been ex­pected in Washington in September.

Trump said his trade ne­go­tia­tors had re­ceived two “very good calls” from China on Sun­day. But a spokesman for China’s for­eign min­istry said Mon­day that he didn’t know what calls Trump was talk­ing about.

Trump ex­pressed his op­ti­mism about China hours af­ter he sent mixed mes­sages on the tar­iff war. He at first seemed to ex­press re­gret Sun­day over es­ca­lat­ing the trade dis­pute, but the White House later said his only re­gret was that he didn’t im­pose even higher tar­iffs on China.

On Mon­day, Trump claimed the Sun­day evening con­ver­sa­tions meant China is se­ri­ous about mak­ing a deal. He said later Mon­day that talks also had taken place be­fore Sun­day.

“I think we’re go­ing to have a deal, be­cause now we’re deal­ing on proper terms. They un­der­stand and we un­der­stand,” Trump said.

He de­clined to say whether he’s spo­ken to Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping or to iden­tify those in­volved in the most re­cent con­ver­sa­tions, say­ing only that they were at the “high­est levels.”

“This is the first time I’ve seen them where they re­ally want to make a deal. And I think that’s a very pos­i­tive step,” Trump added as he met with Egypt’s pres­i­dent on the side­lines of the Group of Seven sum­mit.

When­ever he is asked about China, Trump al­most al­ways says he be­lieves they want to make a deal more than he does.

He said Mon­day that the two sides will be­gin ‘talk­ing very se­ri­ously,” ad­ding that af­ter the calls he be­lieves the Chi­nese “mean busi­ness.”

The Chi­nese were un­aware of any re­cent con­ver­sa­tions.

“I have not heard of the week­end calls men­tioned by the United States,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s for­eign min­istry.

A Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion long had been ex­pected to travel to Washington in September to con­tinue talks and that re­mained the case af­ter Trump’s es­ca­la­tion Fri­day fol­low­ing China’s tar­iff an­nounce­ment.

It was un­clear if Trump was re­fer­ring to the pre­vi­ously sched­uled talks next month or some­thing else.

Trump’s com­ments about China came as he ac­knowl­edged, for the first time, Sun­day’s sur­prise ap­pear­ance at the G-7 sum­mit by Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Javad Zarif, and as the in­ter­na­tional gath­er­ing put Trump’s dif­fer­ences with his coun­ter­parts on dis­play.

World lead­ers had en­cour­aged Trump all week­end to deesca­late the con­flict with China. He also clashed with French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron over France’s new digital ser­vices tax and he broke with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in not force­fully con­demn­ing North Korea’s re­cent bal­lis­tic mis­sile launches.

But Trump on Mon­day re­peat­edly claimed the re­ports of dis­agree­ments were overblown, start­ing with the Zarif visit.

Un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally silent Sun­day while Zarif was in Biarritz, where the sum­mit is be­ing held, Trump in­sisted that Macron had asked his “ap­proval” be­fore invit­ing Zarif to at­tend. Macron is work­ing to lower ten­sions in the Per­sian Gulf. And Trump re­jected the as­ser­tion by some al­lies that the in­vi­ta­tion to Zarif was some­how an in­sult.

“I spoke to Pres­i­dent Macron yes­ter­day and I knew ev­ery­thing he was do­ing and I ap­proved what­ever he was do­ing and I thought it was fine,” Trump said of the Zarif talks. He said he thought it was too soon for he and Zarif to meet but wouldn’t say whether any Amer­i­cans had been in contact with the Ira­nian. The Ira­nian govern­ment had said it would not meet with any Amer­i­cans dur­ing the eighthour visit to France.

Trump said there could soon be time for a meet­ing between himself and Ira­nian of­fi­cials, but re­fused to lay out clear steps for­ward or say if he’d be will­ing to ac­cede to a plan put for­ward by Macron to of­fer Iran some re­lief from crush­ing pe­tro­leum sanc­tions in ex­change for restart­ing nuclear talks.

He said of the Iran talks, “It’s all very new. They’re un­der a lot of fi­nan­cial stress.”

Af­ter the China trade talks broke down this spring, Trump and Xi agreed in

June to re­sume ne­go­ti­a­tions. Talks in Shang­hai in July ended with­out any in­di­ca­tion of progress, and the White House said at the time that Chi­nese ne­go­tia­tors would come to Washington in September.

Trump last week hiked tar­iffs on China af­ter China taxed some U.S. im­ports in re­tal­i­a­tion for a pre­vi­ous round of im­ports levied by Trump.

The move sent U.S. stock mar­ket stum­bling.

Trump also “or­dered” U.S. cor­po­ra­tions to find al­ter­na­tives to do­ing busi­ness in China and threat­ened to de­clare a na­tional emergency to en­force it. He soft­ened the threat Sun­day, say­ing he would only con­sider it if China again re­sponded with rais­ing tar­iffs on Amer­i­can goods.

Trump also said Mon­day that his pri­vate golf re­sort near Mi­ami is the likely venue for next year’s sum­mit, when it’s the U.S. turn to host the an­nual gath­er­ing. He said a fi­nal de­ci­sion has not been made.

Trump said the club, Trump Na­tional Do­ral, is lo­cated min­utes from Mi­ami’s in­ter­na­tional air­port and has plenty of acreage and prop­er­ties to accommodat­e the G-7 lead­ers and their del­e­ga­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.