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China delaying trade deal: Trump

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US President slams Beijing ahead of a new round of trade talks in Shanghai

WASHINGTON : US President Donald Trump took to Twitter yesterday to warn China not to wait to do a trade deal with the US, just as negotiations began in Shanghai to resurrect stalled talks with Chinese officials.

"My team is negotiating with them now, but they always change the deal in the end to their benefit," he tweeted.

"China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 - was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now - no signs that they are doing so. That is the problem with China, they just don't come through."

The negotiations are the first face-to-face talks since Mr Trump agreed to a truce with Chinese President Xi Jinping at June's G-20 summit after previous talks broke down over US accusations that China reneged on its commitments.

Washington and Beijing have so far hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than US$360 billion (S$493 billion) in two-way trade.

The US economy "has become MUCH larger than the Chinese Economy is last 3 years," Mr Trump boasted.

The US President suggested that China "should probably wait out our Election to see if we get one of the Democrat stiffs like Sleepy Joe. Then they could make a GREAT deal, like in past 30 years, and continue ... to ripoff the USA, even bigger and better than ever before."

The reference is to the 2020 presidential election and former US vice-president Joe Biden, the Democratic Party front runner for the nomination.

"The problem with them waiting, however, is that if & when I win, the deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now... or no deal at all. We have all the cards, our past leaders never got it!" he added.


Mr Trump's comments aside, US negotiators - including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin - arrived in Shanghai yesterday to resurrect trade talks with Chinese officials, with both sides downplaying expectations of an imminent deal.

Vice-Premier Liu He will likely lead the talks for China again, with the two sides expected to meet later yesterday ahead of a full day of talks today. Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, a tough negotiator, is expected to join Mr Liu.

Days before the Shanghai meeting, Mr Trump threatened to pull recognition of China's developing nation status at the World Trade Organisation - prompting an irritable reply from Beijing about the US' "arrogance and selfishness".

The US leader has also angered the Chinese by claiming the slowing economy is forcing them to make a trade deal, and blacklisting telecom giant Huawei over national security concerns.

In a commentary on Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua admitted that relations were "strained" and called for the US to "treat China with due respect if it wants a trade deal".

Said Mr Jake Parker, senior vice-president of the US-China Business Council: "Realistically, this round of talks is about clarifying where the two sides stand after a significant lull in engagement." - AFP