WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump does not expect much progress from trade talks with China this week in Washington, he told Reuters on Monday.
Trump said in an interview that he had “no time frame” for ending the trade dispute with China, which threatens to impose tariffs on virtually all goods traded between the world’s two largest economies.
“I’m like them; I have a long horizon,” he added.
The talks this week come as new U.S. tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods take effect at 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) on Thursday, along with retaliatory tariffs from Beijing on an equal amount of U.S. goods.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office also is holding hearings this week on proposals for tariffs on a further $200 billion of Chinese goods that will start to directly hit consumer products.
Trump said Chinese negotiators would be arriving shortly, adding he did not “anticipate much” from the mid-level discussions.
He said resolving the trade dispute with China will “take time because China’s done too well for too long, and they’ve become spoiled. They dealt with people that, frankly, didn’t know what they were doing, to allow us to get into this position.”
Trump also accused China of manipulating its yuan currency to make up for having to pay tariffs imposed by Washington, while arguing the U.S. central bank should be more accommodating.
The meetings, expected to take place on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, are the first formal U.S.-China trade talks since June, when U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met Chinese economic adviser Liu He in Beijing but returned with no agreements.
Since then, Washington and Beijing have been locked in escalating rounds of tit-for-tat tariffs, with tariffs on $50 billion in goods by each country expected to be in place by Thursday. Trump has threatened to impose duties on virtually all of the more than $500 billion of Chinese goods exported to the United States.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked about Trump’s comments at a regular news briefing in Beijing, reiterated that China hoped the talks could reach a “good result”.
“We hope that both sides can sit down quietly and steadily, and dedicate themselves to getting a good result on the basis of equality, parity and trust,” Lu said.
Trump’s tariffs are part of his administration’s effort to pressure China into making major changes to its economic policies to better protect intellectual property, end its industrial subsidy efforts and open its markets to foreign competition.
Beijing denies U.S. allegations that it systematically forces the unfair transfer of U.S. technology and insists that it adheres to World Trade Organization rules.
The Washington talks will be led by U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Malpass and Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen.
Reporting Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Writing by Peter Henderson and David Lawder; Editing by James Dalgleish and Cynthia Osterman
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