Donald Trump on Saturday claimed to have “broken” a key part of the Chinese economy “like an egg”, but said trade talks were nonetheless proceeding “very nicely”.
The US would only make a deal to end its dispute with Beijing, he said, if the deal was right for America.
Speaking to reporters at Joint Base Andrews, Trump also said there had been incorrect reporting about US willingness to lift tariffs, which he said had brought in tens of billions of dollars and would soon bring in “literally hundreds of billions of dollars”.
“There was a lot of incorrect reporting, but you will see what I’m going to be doing,” he said. “There’s a difference on tariffs, but we can always get tariffs.”
Officials from both countries said on Thursday China and the US had agreed to roll back tariffs already in place on each others’ goods in a “phase one” deal to end a damaging trade war. But the idea has met stiff opposition in some quarters of the Trump administration.
On Friday, in comments that hit stock prices and the dollar, Trump said he had not agreed to a tariff rollback. “I haven’t agreed to anything,” he told reporters then.
On Saturday, in reference to news reports, Trump said: “The level of tariff lift is incorrect.” He did not elaborate.
He also said talks had moved more slowly than he would have liked, and claimed China wanted a deal more than he did.
“The trade talks with China are moving along, I think, very nicely and if we make the deal that we want it will be a great deal and if it’s not a great deal, I won’t make it,” he said. “I’d like to make a deal, but it’s got to be the right deal.”
He added: “China very much wants to make a deal. They’re having the worst year they’ve had in 57 years. Their supply chain is all broken, like an egg, they want to make a deal, perhaps they have to make a deal, I don’t know, I don’t care, that’s up to them.“