WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump does not expect much progress from trade talks with China this week in Washington, he told Reuters on Monday (Aug 20).
Trump said in an interview that he had "no time frame" for ending the trade dispute with China, which threatens to impose tariffs on virtually all goods traded between the world's two largest economies.
"I'm like them; I have a long horizon," he added.
The talks this week come as new US tariffs on US$16 billion of Chinese goods take effect at 12:01am (12:01pm Singapore time) on Thursday, along with retaliatory tariffs from Beijing on an equal amount of US goods.
The US Trade Representative's Office also is holding hearings this week on proposals for tariffs on a further US$200 billion of Chinese goods that will start to directly hit consumer products.
Trump said Chinese negotiators would be arriving shortly, adding he did not "anticipate much" from the mid-level discussions.
He said resolving the trade dispute with China will "take time because China's done too well for too long, and they've become spoiled. They dealt with people that, frankly, didn't know what they were doing, to allow us to get into this position."
Trump also accused China of manipulating its yuan currency to make up for having to pay tariffs imposed by Washington, while arguing the US central bank should be more accommodating.
The meetings, expected to take place on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, are the first formal US-China trade talks since June, when US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met Chinese economic adviser Liu He in Beijing but returned with no agreements.
Since then, Washington and Beijing have been locked in escalating rounds of tit-for-tat tariffs, with tariffs on US$50 billion in goods by each country expected to be in place by Thursday. Trump has threatened to impose duties on virtually all of the more than US$500 billion of Chinese goods exported to the United States.
Trump's tariffs are part of his administration's effort to pressure China into making major changes to its economic policies to better protect intellectual property, end its industrial subsidy efforts and open its markets to foreign competition.
Beijing denies US allegations that it systematically forces the unfair transfer of US technology and insists that it adheres to World Trade Organisation rules.
The Washington talks will be led by US Treasury Undersecretary David Malpass and Chinese Commerce Vice-Minister Wang Shouwen.