President Donald Trump said on Tuesday a trade deal with China might have to wait until after the U.S. presidential election in November 2020, denting hopes that the two largest economies would soon reach an initial deal to ease their damaging trade war, Reuters informs.
“I have no deadline, no,” Trump told reporters in London, where he was due to attend a meeting of NATO leaders. “In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal. But they want to make a deal now, and we’ll see whether or not the deal’s going to be right; it’s got to be right.”
Trump’s remarks sent stock prices tumbling and triggered a rush into safe assets such as U.S. Treasury debt. Trump’s comments came as sources in Beijing and Washington familiar with the talks said that the two countries have made progress, but are still wrangling over whether existing U.S. tariffs will be removed and over specific levels of Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products as part of a “phase one” trade deal.
“The Chinese side must have such a requirement, because the Chinese side has promised more U.S agricultural purchases. This is in a way, to some extent, a transaction,” a Chinese source who advises Beijing on the talks told Reuters.
A Washington-based source briefed on the talks said that the U.S. side is willing to remove some tariffs, but wants additional concessions from Beijing to curb the forced transfer of American technology to Chinese firms.
While the deal being discussed includes new protections for trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property, trade sources have said it would leave the most difficult technology transfer issues to future talks.
Trade experts say the most likely tariffs to be removed would be 15% duties imposed on Sept. 1 on about $125 billion of Chinese consumer goods, including smart speakers, Bluetooth headphones, television sets and footwear.