The U.S. and China have wrapped up their first round of face-to-face trade negotiations since talks fell apart in May and both sides agreed to meet again in September as President Donald Trump continues to tone down expectations of a quick resolution.
According to a statement from the White House, the Chinese again agreed to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural commodities during this latest round of talks in Shanghai, but no details were provided. The visiting U.S. team was led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, neither of whom have commented directly on progress from the two days of talks Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The Chinese side confirmed their commitment to increase purchases of United States agricultural exports,” the White House said in a brief statement Wednesday. “The meetings were constructive, and we expect negotiations on an enforceable trade deal to continue in Washington, D.C., in early September.”
Last week, Trump said China “will probably say, ‘Let's wait. It's 14, 15 months until the election. Let's see if one these people that give the United States away, let's see if one of them could possibly get elected.’"
On Tuesday, he again floated the possibility that China would delay any deal until after the 2020 presidential election in contradictory statements to reporters.
“I think if China had their wish, they'd wait until after the election, they'll pray that Trump loses, and then they'll make a deal with a stiff — somebody that doesn’t know what they're doing — like Obama and Biden, like all of the presidents before,” Trump said.
But then Trump said China wants a deal now and the decision is up to him.
“China is dying to make a deal with me,” he said. “But whether or not I'll do it — it's up to me. It's not up to them.”
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