WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Jan. 14 predicted the United States would reach a deal with China to end a tit-for-tat trade war, saying Beijing wants to negotiate and that talks are going well.
“We’re doing very well with China,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I think that we are going to be able to do a deal with China.”
“China wants to negotiate,” he said.
Trump has vowed to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports on March 2 if China fails to address intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and other non-tariff barriers.
The world’s two largest economies held mid-level talks in Beijing last week and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that China’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, would likely visit Washington later this month.
The meetings in China were the first face-to-face discussions since Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met in Buenos Aires in December and agreed to a 90-day truce in the trade war, which has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.
Beijing Expresses Optimism
on Jan. 10, China’s state-run media provided a hint that the regime could be ready to concede to U.S. demands.
Websites belonging to Xinhua and People’s Daily—the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece—both reposted an article by “Bull Piano,” a popular social-media account that posts commentary on current affairs.
The article reasons that U.S. demands can actually benefit China. Regarding narrowing the trade imbalance, which the Trump administration has pushed China to resolve by importing more U.S. goods, the article reads: “Importing some good things from the United States, this can help satisfy Chinese citizens’ wants for leading a comfortable life.”
As for structural reforms that the U.S. side has requested: “at first, it seems like the U.S. is being overbearing, but thinking carefully, these are actually what the deepening of ‘opening up reforms’ needs”—referring to economic policies pushed by former Party leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s that introduced capitalist market forces to China.
In closing, the article called for amicable relations between the two countries. “China’s old saying expresses this best, ‘amiability brings wealth.’ That is said so correctly!”
Given that the two media outlets are the Party’s chief propaganda tools and often release the regime’s official stances on issues, it’s significant that this article appeared on both websites and could be a justification and foreshadowing of potential compromise.
By Jeff Mason. Epoch Times writer Annie Wu contributed to this report.