WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said on May 10 that trade talks between China and the United States were continuing in a “very congenial manner” despite new tariffs Washington imposed on Friday on $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing’s vow to retaliate.
In a series of blustering morning tweets, Trump also claimed the new tariffs will help rather than hurt the United States and bring “FAR MORE wealth.” He offered a proposal he said would ease any negative impact on U.S. farmers from lost sales to China.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators planned to continue talks on Friday in an effort to resolve the standoff after the United States raised tariffs on Chinese imports, escalating tensions between the world’s two biggest economies and rattling stock markets around the world.
“Tariffs will make our Country MUCH STRONGER, not weaker. Just sit back and watch!” Trump tweeted.
The talks in Washington were thrown into disarray this week after top U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused the Chinese of reneging on commitments they’d made earlier.
“China should not renegotiate deals with the U.S. at the last minute,” Trump tweeted. “There is no need to rush through negotiations because ‘massive payments’ the Chinese are now paying go directly into the Treasury of the U.S.”
Trump suggested that money from the additional tariffs would allow the United States to buy more agricultural goods from American farmers and ship the produce to “poor & starving” countries.
Trump tweeted that if the United States bought $15 billion in agriculture from farmers it would be far more than China buys now. He also said the United States would have more than $85 billion left over for new American infrastructure, health care or other programs.
It was unclear what numbers Trump was using to make his point. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, China bought $9.2 billion in U.S. agricultural exports in 2018.
“Our Farmers will do better, faster, and starving nations can now be helped,” Trump tweeted. He provided no detail about what he meant. “Waivers on some products will be granted, or go to a new source!”
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Beijing is hoping the Trump administration will meet China “halfway” in the dispute over trade. The spokesman, Geng Shuang, spoke just hours after the U.S. raised tariffs on Friday on $200 billion in imports from China to 25% from 10%.
China said it would take unspecified countermeasures.
By Deb Reichmann