Trump says US could walk away from China deal

Thursday, March 14, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday dangled the prospect of walking away from a new trade deal with China if it's not to his liking.

Trump spoke on the state of negotiations with China shortly before meeting with Republican senators on trade issues. He spoke optimistically of the U.S. and China being able to reach an agreement.

But Trump also seemed to hark back to last month's summit when asked whether he preferred that the two parties work out a trade deal before he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping or whether he'd prefer to work out the final details with Xi. Trump said he preferred the latter option.

He cautioned that "President Xi saw that I'm somebody who believes in walking when a deal is not done."

So far, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports. China retaliated by slapping duties on about $110 billion of U.S. goods. Many of the tariffs imposed by China target U.S. farm products such as soybeans and pork, contributing to a projected 12 percent drop in net farm income last year.

Farmers are anxious for the president to work out an agreement with China as well as for Congress to ratify a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"It's an exciting time in terms of trade," Trump said.

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