A U.S.-China trade deal may not be finalized until late next year after the 2020 elections, President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday during a visit to London.
“In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal,” Trump said less than two weeks before the next round of tariff hikes that are planned for Dec. 15. “but they want to make a deal now and we’ll see whether or not the deal’s going to be right.”
The administration has promised a partial, "phase one" agreement with China that would include Chinese pledges to substantially increase imports of U.S. farm commodities, but Trump emphasized that he is not in a hurry to close a deal.
“The China deal is dependent on one thing - do I want to make it,” Trump said. “Because we’re doing very well with China now … I have no deadline, no.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell sharply after Trump made the comments.
His comments come about two weeks after he and Chinese President Xi Jinping were originally scheduled to sign the phase one pact in mid-November at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile. The summit was cancelled, but U.S. officials – including Trump – have been promising that the pact would be signed just as soon as an alternate venue could be decided on.
Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premiere Liu He have been conducting talks over the phone.