Trump says China wants to negotiate trade with ‘weak’ Democrats

Donald Trump (left) and Xi Jinping (right) are in Trade war talks. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said China would prefer to negotiate a trade pact with his “weak” Democratic challengers to “ripoff” the US but he said that won’t happen and that he’s been told Chinese representatives are planning to make a deal.

Trump took at shot at his Democratic challengers, singling out former Vice President Joe Biden, saying China would prefer to negotiate with them.

Biden has been criticised in recent weeks for playing down the economic threat posed by China, arguing the US is in a much stronger position than Trump credits it with.

“The reason for the China pullback & attempted renegotiation of the Trade Deal is the sincere HOPE that they will be able to “negotiate” with Joe Biden or one of the very weak Democrats, and thereby continue to ripoff the United States (US$500 billion a year) for years to come….” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

In a subsequent tweet, he wrote: “Guess what, that’s not going to happen.”

Trump said in another tweet that “China has just informed us that they (Vice-Premier) are now coming to the US to make a deal. We’ll see, but I am very happy with over US$100 billion a year in tariffs filling US coffers.”

US stock futures briefly pared losses after Trump’s tweets, though investors remained on edge after a two-day trade-fomented rout wiped out more than US$500 billion from the value of American equities. Treasuries trimmed an advance and the dollar held steady.

Beijing’s top trade negotiator, Liu He, is traveling to the US on Thursday and Friday for high-stakes talks after Trump threatened to raise tariffs on billions in Chinese imports.

US officials said Chinese negotiators reneged on provisions in a draft deal the US considered settled. The developments raise the prospect that talks between the US and China to resolve their trade war, now more than a year long, could collapse entirely.