President Donald Trump said he is optimistic about resolving the U.S. trade dispute with China after receiving a response from Beijing to his demands, ahead of a widely anticipated meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina later this month.
Trump told reporters Nov. 16 that the Chinese response was largely complete but was missing four or five big things.
“China wants to make a deal, they sent a list of things they are willing to do which is a large list and it is just not acceptable to me yet, but at some point I think that, we are doing extremely well with respect to China,” Trump said.
U.S. stocks erased losses as Trump spoke, with investors looking for any sign that the White House will cool trade tensions with the world’s second-largest economy. Equity markets have reacted swiftly to any trade-related headlines in recent days as the threat of additional tariffs on Chinese goods looms.
Trump said the United States would proceed with a threat to impose additional tariffs on $267 billion worth of Chinese products if a deal isn’t reached, but he added, “We may not have to do that. China would like to make a deal.”
“Hopefully, we will make a deal, and if we don’t, we are doing very well just the way it is right now,” Trump added.
The president’s comments signal the large gap that still remains between the sides.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg News on Nov. 15 that Trump and Xi at best would be able to come up with a “framework” deal at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires on Nov. 30-Dec. 1. That would then be followed by months of talks, Ross said.
People briefed on the list presented by the Chinese side this week also said that it was largely a rehash of prior commitments made by Xi and did not address U.S. demands for significant reforms to Chinese industrial policy.