Trump tempers expectations for possible US-China trade deal

President Donald Trump on Tuesday tempered expectations set by his own administration that ...

Posted: May 23, 2018 4:01 AM
Updated: May 23, 2018 4:01 AM

President Donald Trump on Tuesday tempered expectations set by his own administration that the US and China had reached a tentative agreement to resolve a bubbling trade dispute between the two countries.

"There is no deal," Trump said flatly on Tuesday, seemingly rejecting comments by his own top economic officials who suggested the US and China were on the cusp of an agreement to reduce the US' trade deficit with China.

"We'll see what happens, but that deal I will say could be much different from the deal that finally emerges and it may be a much better deal for the United States," Trump added.

Trump's comments came two days after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the US and China had agreed to a "framework" for a trade deal and were "putting the trade war on hold." Stock markets rallied the next day amid a sense that the US-China trade tensions were cooling, but Mnuchin's comments also prompted a backlash from Trump supporters and economists who argued Trump was easing the pressure on China without having achieved significant concessions.

Trump rejected the suggestion that he was softening his stance on Chinese trade abuses, insisting he would negotiate a deal that would benefit the US and noting that it was his administration that barred the Chinese firm ZTE from doing business with US firms last month.

Trump appeared to suggest that Mnuchin had gotten ahead of the administration's position, rebuking coverage of the latest US-China trade developments as "incorrectly written," even though he said reporters were not to blame.

"I'm not saying that's the reporters' fault, I'm saying I'm not talking about the trade deal. I don't like to talk about deals until they're done," Trump said.

His comments came amid bitter disagreements among the President's trade team over the direction the US-China trade talks have taken under Mnuchin's leadership. The disagreements burst into public view on Sunday when Mnuchin's comments about putting tariffs "on hold" were followed up by a statement from Robert Lighthizer, the US Trade Representative, who said the US "may use all of its legal tools to protect our technology through tariffs" and other means.

A source close to the process said the statement was intentionally contradictory and an effort by Lighthizer to keep Mnuchin from getting ahead of the administration's negotiations.

The source argued that Mnuchin was "freelancing" with his comments on Sunday and said Mnuchin was in danger of becoming "Rex Tillerson 2.0," referring to the former secretary of state whom the President rebuked for getting ahead of his positions. A Mnuchin spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump's comments on trade on Tuesday during an Oval Office meeting with the South Korean President also reflected the extent to which trade negotiations with China loom large amid preparations for the North Korean summit. At one point, the President abruptly transitioned from discussing US-China trade issues to airing his concerns about Chinese influence over North Korea.

And he made explicitly clear that the situation with North Korea is also on his mind as he deals with China on trade issues.

"We have a very powerful hand on trade. And when I'm thinking about trade -- you know, I read you folks and you say, 'Well, why does he' -- there's a much bigger picture that I have in mind," Trump said. "When I think of trade with China, I'm also thinking about what they're doing to help us with peace with North Korea. That's a very important element."

Trump suggested North Korea's harsher tone in a series of statements last week was a result of Kim Jong Un's most recent meeting earlier this month with Chinese President Xi Jinping

"When Kim Jong Un had the meeting with President Xi in China ... I think there was a little change in attitude from Kim Jong Un," Trump said in the Oval Office. "So I don't like that. I don't like that from the standpoint of China."

Even as he insisted he enjoyed a "great relationship with President Xi," and recalled "two of the great days of my life" spent in Beijing last November, Trump cast doubts on Xi's intentions.

"I think that President Xi is a world class poker player," he said. "There was a somewhat different attitude (from North Korea) after that meeting and I'm a little surprised."

Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Muscle Shoals
Mostly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 48°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Decatur
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 46°
Fort Payne
Mostly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 46°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 429655

Reported Deaths: 6283
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63040956
Mobile30794557
Madison27486201
Tuscaloosa20996268
Montgomery19352315
Shelby18833120
Baldwin16653184
Lee12749102
Morgan12389119
Etowah11861176
Calhoun11292201
Marshall10290113
Houston8746156
Limestone813276
Cullman8125106
Elmore7999104
DeKalb776599
Lauderdale768698
St. Clair7651121
Talladega6309108
Walker5954174
Jackson586341
Colbert539873
Blount537683
Autauga525755
Coffee450456
Dale402981
Franklin369948
Russell340711
Chilton338966
Covington332668
Escambia326043
Dallas308896
Chambers293170
Clarke287833
Tallapoosa2641107
Pike255230
Marion248953
Lawrence246649
Winston229535
Bibb218847
Geneva205446
Marengo202829
Pickens197531
Hale179542
Barbour176036
Fayette172928
Butler170858
Cherokee161930
Henry156523
Monroe149818
Randolph142135
Washington139126
Clay127645
Crenshaw121544
Cleburne119023
Lamar119021
Macon118637
Lowndes112036
Wilcox105121
Bullock101128
Perry99019
Conecuh95720
Sumter89626
Greene76623
Coosa61015
Choctaw51624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 694291

Reported Deaths: 8556
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby771571142
Davidson71578678
Knox39306418
Hamilton35049330
Rutherford33516288
Unassigned23161126
Williamson21679141
Sumner18454232
Out of TN1601379
Montgomery14719149
Wilson14622159
Sullivan12736212
Blount12146127
Washington12010193
Maury11079125
Bradley1093494
Sevier10589110
Putnam10001148
Madison9205180
Robertson774185
Hamblen7088112
Anderson6864107
Greene6655108
Tipton626865
Coffee567382
Gibson5671112
Cumberland544173
Dickson543579
Bedford535690
Roane526379
Carter5145115
Lawrence514269
McMinn511773
Warren502653
Loudon500050
Jefferson483876
Dyer478683
Monroe462763
Hawkins449970
Franklin415263
Fayette402151
Obion401980
Rhea384756
Lincoln381244
Marshall349238
Cocke348657
Cheatham343930
Weakley341848
Henderson334658
Campbell328640
Giles325373
Carroll314059
White312643
Hardeman311252
Hardin300048
Lauderdale295131
Macon291450
Wayne265020
Henry262958
Overton256145
DeKalb244142
McNairy242242
Haywood241045
Smith233028
Marion230831
Trousdale229314
Scott227331
Hickman225834
Claiborne217629
Fentress214233
Grainger211237
Johnson203033
Morgan191215
Crockett181338
Chester175838
Bledsoe175411
Unicoi168344
Cannon158920
Lake156620
Decatur148127
Polk144517
Union140723
Grundy140321
Sequatchie138318
Humphreys134417
Benton132535
Lewis128620
Meigs116416
Stewart107020
Jackson105423
Perry95325
Clay94626
Houston94222
Moore8179
Pickett68520
Van Buren6667
Hancock4076

Community Events