Any deal with China must favour US: Trump

US President Donald Trump expected Beijing's negotiating position to move closer to Washington's.
US President Donald Trump expected Beijing's negotiating position to move closer to Washington's.PHOTO: NY TIMES

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump has said trade talks with China are under way by phone and that any deal would need to be somewhat tilted in favour of the United States.

"It's already begun," Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday, when asked if trade negotiations had restarted, after a stalemate.

"They're speaking very much on the phone but they're also meeting. I think we have a good chance of making a deal," he added.

He said he expected Beijing's negotiating position to move closer to Washington's.

Talks broke down in May after Washington accused Beijing of backtracking on reform pledges.

Mr Trump said China has had a "big advantage" over the US in trade for "many years".

"So obviously you can't make a 50-50 deal. It has to be a deal that is somewhat tilted to our advantage," he added.


Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed during a meeting at the Group of 20 summit in Japan last Saturday to restart trade talks after the last major round of negotiations collapsed in May.

The announcement reflected a truce in their trade war.

The American leader also said he would hold off on imposing an additional US$300 billion (S$406 billion) in tariffs on Chinese goods.

Mr Trump made the threat of more duties in May after he said China had reneged on language that had previously been negotiated.

It was not clear what concessions Mr Xi offered to get the talks restarted.

Meanwhile, the apparent thaw in US-China trade relations drew a collective sigh of relief from global markets, which staged a relief rally on Monday even though major questions about any deal remain unanswered.

Separately, China said yesterday that only a small number of companies are moving supply chains out of the country, amid signs that some firms have been shifting production elsewhere as the US-China trade conflict drags on.

The problem should not be overstated, Mr Chu Shijia, a department director at the Commerce Ministry, said at a media briefing.

In recent years, some Chinese manufacturers have started to relocate capacity to countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia, due to high operating costs at home.

The US-China trade dispute is now pushing more to follow suit, especially makers of low-tech and low-value goods.

Some Chinese companies had had concerns initially when the trade frictions started, Mr Chu said, but they have now found ways to cut costs and to minimise the impact.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2019, with the headline 'Any deal with China must favour US: Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe