Trump says his China trade talks deadline is 'up here', pointing to his head

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the relationship between the US and China was "a little bit testy" over tariffs, but that he had "no deadline" for a trade deal with China

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - United States President Donald Trump said he had no deadline for China to return to trade talks, other than the one in his head.

"I have no deadline," Mr Trump told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday (June 12) at the White House.

"My deadline is what's up here," he added, pointing to his head.

Trade talks with Beijing broke off last month after the US accused China's leaders of reneging on provisions of a tentative agreement.

Mr Trump raised tariffs on about US$200 billion (S$273 billion) of Chinese imports to 25 per cent, and said he would expand the tariffs to cover another US$325 billion in goods - substantially everything the country exports to the US - unless Chinese leaders reverse course.

He said on Tuesday that he is personally holding up a deal and won't complete an agreement unless Beijing returns to terms negotiated earlier in the year.

A day earlier, he threatened to raise tariffs if President Xi Jinping doesn't meet him at the upcoming Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Japan.

 

"I would never take something that would be less than what we already had," Mr Trump said, noting an agreement to prevent intellectual property theft.

"I think we'll end up making a deal with China. We have a very good relationship, although it's a little bit testy right now, as you would expect."

Mr Trump again claimed that Chinese exporters bear the burden of the tariffs, refuting the consensus of economists that the costs are largely born by US citizens in the form of higher prices.

"They keep saying the American taxpayer pays for it," Mr Trump said.

"No, no. Very little."

Companies manufacturing products in China, he predicted, would soon begin moving to the US - including automaker General Motors.

On Tuesday, White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said that he expected Mr Trump and Mr Xi to meet at the G-20, but that he didn't think the leaders would reach a final accord.

"We'll figure out the deadline," Mr Trump said on Wednesday.

"Nobody can quite figure it out."