Washington, Dec 4 (EFE).- President Donald Trump on Tuesday did not rule out prolonging the trade truce with China beyond the 90 days established in principle with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, as the deadline for reaching a comprehensive trade deal.
“The negotiations with China have already started. Unless extended, they will end 90 days from the date of our wonderful and very warm dinner with President Xi in Argentina,” Trump said on his Twitter account, referring to the deal he worked out with the Chinese leader on the weekend at the G20 Summit.
The president added in a subsequent tweet that “China is supposed to start buying (US) Agricultural product and more immediately,” a claim that Beijing has not confirmed or denied.
The US president threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods if the agreement fails.
“President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will. But if not remember, … I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so.”
In the talks with Xi, Trump agreed to leave tariffs at 10 percent on some $200 billion worth of Chinese products rather than hike them to 25 percent, as had been scheduled, on Jan. 1.
The president confirmed that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will head the negotiations with China, “working closely” with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House economic advisers Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro.
The US and China agreed in Argentina to “immediately” begin negotiations on structural changes to the Chinese economy, among other issues, the White House has said.
But Kudlow said Tuesday that there are no guarantees that the trade deal with China will materialize.
Although saying he could give no guarantees, “in my judgment, others may disagree, we have come further and … the table of contents is larger than anything we’ve seen before,” Kudlow told a Tuesday conference organized by The Wall Street Journal.
Kudlow, who accompanied Trump to Argentina, expressed “cautious optimism,” noting that this was the first time that China had been willing to act “immediately” in the trade realm.
In total, the US has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese products since July and Trump had threatened to tack tariffs onto an additional $267 billion worth of imports from Beijing, a total that would exceed the volume of Chinese imports in 2017, which amounted to $506 billion.
Meanwhile, Beijing has retaliated with tariffs on some $60 billion worth of US goods, about half of the $130 billion in imports it bought from this country last year.