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
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
Florence
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 61°
Fayetteville
Broken Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 60°
Decatur
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 61°
Scottsboro
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 61°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136055

Reported Deaths: 2364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19752350
Mobile13449292
Montgomery8852184
Tuscaloosa8654118
Madison792778
Shelby601349
Lee592760
Baldwin552650
Marshall396143
Calhoun353444
Etowah352145
Morgan331428
Houston292021
Elmore267348
DeKalb243221
St. Clair233036
Walker231984
Talladega217129
Limestone211920
Cullman190720
Dallas179126
Franklin178129
Autauga177325
Russell17633
Lauderdale172333
Colbert166626
Blount161715
Escambia161124
Chilton158830
Jackson158111
Covington140327
Dale139244
Coffee13596
Pike120510
Chambers116842
Tallapoosa116485
Clarke110016
Marion96829
Butler91339
Barbour8857
Winston74512
Marengo72420
Pickens66614
Bibb65610
Lowndes65427
Randolph65413
Hale64428
Geneva6344
Lawrence62123
Cherokee61213
Bullock60614
Monroe5908
Clay5878
Washington55913
Perry5416
Crenshaw54032
Conecuh53611
Wilcox53211
Henry5075
Macon48318
Fayette4628
Sumter43819
Cleburne3825
Lamar3702
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 192995

Reported Deaths: 2377
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30953459
Davidson26630306
Hamilton951995
Knox949779
Rutherford936189
Williamson531036
Sumner486598
Wilson351945
Putnam334940
Montgomery311144
Unassigned30425
Out of TN298627
Bradley296217
Madison292164
Sevier263815
Blount253524
Maury240924
Washington232836
Robertson222535
Sullivan219733
Hamblen193926
Tipton183219
Gibson170423
Trousdale16667
Hardeman158226
Wayne14995
Dyer138714
Bedford136417
Dickson127415
Coffee125413
Cumberland121718
Weakley120519
Fayette120419
Anderson120013
Obion119110
Henderson118924
Loudon11846
Carter117728
Greene116144
McMinn114625
Jefferson113014
Warren10757
Lawrence106713
Macon106721
Monroe105218
Hardin104716
Lauderdale99416
Haywood99221
Franklin9899
Lake9252
Roane9055
Carroll89920
McNairy89618
Bledsoe8624
White8479
Rhea84412
Hawkins82218
Cheatham81510
Marshall7785
Overton7586
Cocke7549
Smith73111
Johnson7262
Chester64310
Giles63117
Henry6289
Lincoln6241
Hickman5938
DeKalb57014
Crockett54219
Marion5338
Decatur5307
Fentress5263
Campbell4544
Claiborne4425
Polk39910
Grainger3863
Union3642
Benton3379
Jackson3315
Morgan3203
Grundy3095
Cannon2920
Unicoi2891
Humphreys2583
Sequatchie2381
Clay2335
Meigs2283
Houston2243
Scott2172
Stewart2142
Lewis2041
Moore1791
Van Buren1660
Perry1530
Pickett1232
Hancock1083

Community Events