Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 September 2019

Donald Trump says he’ll raise China tariffs again if Xi Jinping won’t meet at G20

The US President said he was confident a deal with China would be made

US President Donald Trump has now threatened to raise tariffs on China by 'more than 25 per cent'. Bloomberg
US President Donald Trump has now threatened to raise tariffs on China by 'more than 25 per cent'. Bloomberg

US President Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on China again if President Xi Jinping did not meet him at the Group of 20 summit in Japan.

Mr Trump said on Monday that he could impose tariffs of 25 per cent, or “much higher than 25 per cent” on $300 billion (Dh1.83 trillion) in Chinese goods.

“We’ve never got 10 cents from China and now we’re getting a lot of money from China,” he said.

Mr Trump said earlier in the day that the additional tariffs would be enacted immediately if there were no meeting at the summit this month.

“I think he will go and I think we’re scheduled to have a meeting," he said. "And I have a great relationship with him. He’s actually an incredible guy, he’s a great man.

"He’s very strong, very smart, but he’s for China and I’m for the United States.”

Trade talks with China hit an impasse last month after the president accused Beijing of reneging on provisions of a tentative agreement. The two countries have since increased their trade war.

“China is going to make a deal because they’re going to have to make a deal,” Mr Trump said on Monday.

He again suggested that an eventual trade deal could involve Huawei.

The Trump administration is campaigning to block the company from emerging 5G telecommunications networks around the world and has moved to cut off Huawei from US suppliers, saying there were national security concerns.

“I do see it as a threat,” Mr Trump said on Monday. “At the same time, it could be very well that we do something with respect to Huawei as part of our trade negotiation with China.

"China very much wants to make a deal. They want to make a deal much more than I do but we’ll see what happens.”

Mr Trump said that US actions against Huawei would not set the country back on 5G.

“We're actually going to be leading very shortly," he said. "You know, we’re leading in everything.”

“As great as they [China] are, and they are great, they don’t have near the capability of our geniuses in Silicon Valley who walk around in undershirts and they’re worth $2bn.”

But by consistently linking the company to trade talks, Mr Trump has suggested his aim is to stunt China’s growth as an economic rival to the US.

“Huawei is very powerful, very strong,” he said.

Mr Trump said he wanted China to do well, but: “I don’t want them to do as well as us.”

His reversal on a threat to impose new tariffs on Mexico over migration from Central America lifted the mood at the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, at the weekend.

But the US delegation left without any significant breakthrough on China. Mr Trump is due to meet Mr Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 leaders’ summit in Osaka.

“We’re expected to meet and if we do that’s fine," he said of Mr Xi. "And if we don’t, look, from our standpoint the best deal we can have is 25 per cent on $600bn.

“If we don’t have a deal and don’t make a deal, we’ll be raising the tariffs. We only tax 35 to 40 per cent of what they said, then they had another 60 per cent that’ll be taxed.”

Mr Trump again hinted that part of the deal he struck with Mexico has not yet been made public.

He has said that the country agreed to buy large amounts of US agricultural products as part of the agreement, but Mexican officials say there was no such provision.

Mr Trump said that the US is deliberately not discussing one aspect of agreement yet, claiming that it is another “very powerful tool” for the US.

“We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the immigration and security deal with Mexico, one that the US has been asking about getting for many years," he tweeted earlier on Monday.

"It will be revealed in the not-too-distant future and will need a vote by Mexico’s legislative body.”

Updated: June 11, 2019 09:40 AM

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