US President Donald Trump said he doesn’t want to make a partial trade deal with China and that voters won’t punish him for the ongoing trade war in his 2020 bid for re-election.
“I am not looking for a partial deal. I am looking for a complete deal,” Trump said yesterday at the White House during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The ongoing trade war between the two nations has roiled global markets and worsened in May when talks broke down.
US and Chinese officials held discussions in Washington this week with the aim of setting up high-level talks in early October.
Trump has touted the resumption of negotiations, and last week delayed a planned tariff increase scheduled for October 1 on $250bn in Chinese goods as “a gesture of good will.”
Trump added that he has an “amazing” relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping but that right now they’re having “a little spat.”
“I think the voters understand that,” Trump said. “I don’t think it has any impact on the election.”
Trump added that it would probably be “positive” for his re-election prospects if the two countries reached a deal.
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said recent developments have created a “positive atmosphere” surrounding the standoff, which has been fuelled by accusations of bad faith from both sides.
Trump administration officials have discussed offering an interim trade agreement to China that would delay and even roll back some US tariffs in exchange for Chinese commitments on intellectual property and agricultural purchases. A limited deal would likely jolt markets and ease the economic burden caused by the conflict as Trump ramps up his 2020 re-election campaign.
The president has repeatedly denied that the tariffs have hurt the US economy, saying China is bearing the burden.
Senior US and Chinese officials last met in late July, when US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Shanghai.
But those talks yielded little progress. The US afterwards slapped tariffs on an additional $110bn of Chinese goods, and Beijing retaliated by announcing their own tariffs.
Meanwhile, the US sanctioned Iran’s central bank and sovereign wealth fund yesterday, a move aimed as retaliation for last weekend’s attacks on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities. “These are the highest sanctions ever imposed,” President Donald Trump told reporters during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the White House. “We’ve never done it at this level.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the move would cut off funding for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp.
It’s a controversial step, as sanctioning the central bank may also limit the ability to import humanitarian goods into the country. The Treasury Department issued a statement saying Iran’s sovereign wealth fund, the National Development Fund of Iran, was also a major source of foreign currency and funding for the IRGC.
Trump said he’ll meet later yesterday with his national security advisers to discuss further responses to the attack on the Saudi oil facilities, which the US has blamed on Iran.
He’s under pressure from hawks among congressional Republicans to order a military attack on the Islamic Republic but has resisted, and has drawn comparisons to the Iraq War that he says he opposed.
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