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Trump warns China faces ‘toughest trade war deal ever’ if they wait until after US election

US President Donald Trump talks to the media after signing an Executive Order Establishing a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, on Tuesday. (UPI-Yonhap). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

WASHINGTON D.C., Sep 18, 2019, SCMP. US President Donald Trump has warned Beijing to make a trade war deal before the American presidential election next year otherwise “it’ll be the toughest deal anybody’s ever had to make from the standpoint of China”, reported the South China Morning Post.

Vice-minister for finance, Liao Min, will lead a Chinese delegation to Washington this week to set out China’s agenda for talks in October between Vice-Premier Liu He, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

But China’s official media outlets, including Xinhua News Agency, the People’s Daily and the Global Times, did not carry any commentaries regarding the upcoming talks after they were confirmed on Tuesday, while the social media accounts used by Beijing to manage public expectations of the negotiations were also silent.

“I think there’ll be a deal maybe soon, maybe before the election, or one day after the election. And if it’s after the election, it’ll be a deal like you’ve never seen, it’ll be the greatest deal ever and China knows that,” Trump said on Air Force One, according to Politico.

“They think I’m going to win. China thinks I’m going to win so easily and they’re concerned because I told them: ‘If it’s after the election, it’s going to be far worse than what it is right now.’ I told them that. Would they like to see somebody else win? Absolutely.

“If it’s after the election, it’ll be the toughest deal anybody’s ever had to make from the standpoint of China, and they know that. China knows that. China would love to have [Democrats candidates] Sleepy Joe [Biden] and Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren.”

The US presidential election will take place at the start of November next year.

China and US both had exchanged goodwill gestures earlier this month before confirmation of the next round of talks, raising hopes that the world’s two largest economies can reach a deal soon to put an end to the 14-month trade war that has roiled markets and dampened growth, even though Beijing and Washington remain widely divided over key structural issues.

President Xi Jinping did not comment on the trade war directly during a visit to Henan province with Vice-premier Liu, but at a coal mining machinery factory on Tuesday, said that China must upgrade the country’s vast manufacturing industry.

“China’s manufacturing is now the largest in the world, but we must continue to move forward to achieve transformation and upgrading through innovation … and to move from low-end to the high-end in value chain,” Xi said, according to Xinhua. “We must uplift our manufacturing capabilities and improve the real economy.”

As part of the goodwill gestures between Beijing and Washington, the US Department of Agriculture confirmed that China bought 260,000 tonnes of soybeans on Tuesday after sales of 256,000 tonnes on Monday and 204,000 tonnes on Friday.

This follows China’s decision to offer exceptions for US soybeans and pork, with Trump adding that “they are starting to buy our farm products big league”.

US Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tom Donohue said that US trade representative Lighthizer told business executives he was seeking a “real agreement” that addresses intellectual property and technology transfer issues.

But Donohue said that Lighthizer gave no indication if the talks would produce an interim deal with a more limited scope.

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