Trump ‘not interested’ in talking with China about trade

Trump ‘not interested’ in talking with China about trade

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it’s trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can’t withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE said Tuesday that he’s “not interested” in continuing trade negotiations with China for now, citing Beijing’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m not interested right now in talking to China,” Trump said in an interview with CBS News. “We made a great trade deal. But as soon as the deal was done, the ink wasn’t even dry, and they hit us with the plague.”

The comments are the firmest Trump has given to date on his stance on trade negotiations with China as he continues to assail Beijing for failing to adequately suppress the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan and inform the world of the seriousness of the illness. 

“I don’t think about it now,” Trump told reporters last week on Air Force One of a potential “Phase Two” trade deal, saying he has “many other things in mind.”

“They could have stopped the plague, they could have stopped it, they didn’t stop it. They stopped it from going into the remaining portions of China from Wuhan province. They could have stopped the plague, they didn’t,” he added. “The relationship with China has been severely damaged.”

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an initial “Phase One” trade deal in January that included commitments from China to boost its purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over the next two years in exchange for some tariff relief, though some levies remained in place. 

The first phase of the trade deal marked a breakthrough after years of negotiations, though progress on the issue has faltered amid withering criticism from the White House over China’s response to the pandemic. The remaining tariffs will remain in place until a second phase of the deal is signed, though Trump said Tuesday he has no plans to speak with Xi.