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Trump says US, China plan to have ‘a talk’ as economic worries linger

Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, had told Politico: “There’s no question that trade uncertainty is contributing to the slowdown.”

Trump responded during the radio interview that he wasn’t going to give up, saying tariffs are working.

‘We’re winning’

“So what does Pat Toomey want me to do? Does he want me to say, let me put my hands up, China? Continue to rip us off, just continue,” Trump said. “Let me give up right now China, even though we’re winning.”

A report earlier Thursday showed US economic growth decelerated in the second quarter by more than initially reported, suggesting the president’s trade actions are weighing more heavily on the pace of expansion.

Stocks across Asia pared losses and US stocks rallied alongside European stocks Thursday as investors saw reason for trade-talk optimism. The S&P 500 Index headed toward a three-week high. But investors have sent bond yields plummeting in recent weeks amid growing concern the record-long US expansion is approaching an end.

Wall Street rallied on Trump's comments.

Wall Street rallied on Trump’s comments.Credit:AP

“China has ample means for retaliation, but thinks the question that should be discussed now is about removing the new tariffs to prevent escalation of the trade war,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing on Thursday. “China is lodging solemn representations with the US on the matter.”

When asked if that meant China wouldn’t retaliate at all for the latest escalation by the US, Gao didn’t elaborate but repeated the same comments. Gao’s commented amid signs China’s economy slowed further in August, according to a Bloomberg Economics gauge aggregating the earliest available indicators from financial markets and businesses.

The US announced new tariff rates earlier this month on $US300 billion ($446 billion) of Chinese goods that will come into effect in September and December. Beijing then retaliated last week, announcing its own higher import taxes on US products.


That prompted a reaction from Trump, who tweeted that existing 25 per cent tariffs on some $US250 billion in imports from China would rise to 30 per cent on October 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He also pushed higher planned levies on $US300 billion in Chinese goods due on September 1 and December 15.

“China’s been ripping off the United States,” Trump said in the interview with Fox News. “I think they want to make a deal, I sort of think they have to make a deal, and we’ll see what happens.”

Chinese visit

Trump’s remarks follow comments on Wednesday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said US trade officials expect Chinese negotiators to visit Washington, but wouldn’t say whether a previously planned September meeting would take place.

“We continue to have conversations. We’re planning for them to come,” Mnuchin said in an interview, declining to say whether the September encounter would happen.

On Monday, in off-the-cuff remarks to reporters at the Group of Seven summit in France, Trump claimed that Chinese officials called “our top trade people” and said “let’s get back to the table.” Chinese officials weren’t able to confirm that account.


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