President Donald Trump said July 1 that trade talks with China have “already begun,” after he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to restart discussions during a June 29 sideline meeting at the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan.
Trump said the renewed talks between negotiators were being held by phone.
“It has already begun. They are speaking very much on the phone,” Trump told reporters at the White House on July 1.
“It actually began before our [G-20] meeting,” he added.
During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to resume trade talks which had stalled in early May, after the U.S. administration accused the Chinese regime of reneging on provisions that had been agreed upon.
Trump also agreed to hold off on imposing tariffs on around $300 billion of Chinese imports while negotiations were ongoing.
In May, the United States hiked tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent. China has slapped duties on $110 billion of U.S. imports.
The president said on Monday that any agreement reached between the two countries would have to be “better for us than for them because they had such a big advantage for so many years.”
Beijing has consistently said the two sides must reach a “balanced” deal that does not only contain a raft of Chinese concessions.
The U.S. administration launched a trade dispute with the Chinese regime last year in an attempt to force the regime to rectify its longstanding unfair trade practices. These include theft of U.S. intellectual property, forcing the transfer of trade secrets as a condition of doing business in China, and subsidizing domestic industries.
“So obviously, we can’t make a 50/50 deal. It has to be a deal that is somewhat tilted to our advantage,” Trump said.
“And if we’re not going to do that, we’re taking in a fortune from tariffs and unfortunately, we’re hurting China by doing that because many of their companies are leaving and going to a non-tariff state so they don’t have to pay the tariffs.”
Since his meeting with Xi, the president has said he is “no rush” to reach a deal, and is instead focused on getting it done right.
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro told CNBC on July 2 that there may still be a long way to go before an agreement is reached.
“This is a very complicated process,” Navarro said.
“We had a deal that was over 150 pages long with seven different chapters” at the time when negotiations broke down, that forms “the basis now for moving further forward,” he said.
Last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the two countries were “90 percent of the way” towards reaching a deal before talks stalled in May. Navarro said resumed talks “will take time, and we want to get it right.”