Political News

Trump on China: 'Can't have trade that's meant for stupid people'

Posted November 16, 2018 1:46 p.m. EST

— President Donald Trump on Friday raised the prospect of ending his escalating trade war with China, but signaled US negotiators still want more a few more concessions from their largest trading partner.

"China wants to make a deal," Trump said speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, when asked about an offer made this week by Beijing less than two weeks before the American President meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Argentina at the end of this month.

The Chinese government earlier this week made an initial offer on trade, which Trump said addressed 142 negotiating points. The offer followed a phone call last Friday between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

"It's a pretty complete list, a lot of the things we asked for, but there are four or five things left off," said Trump, adding "we'll probably get them, too. But as you know it's a very complete list."

Trump, who has made the US economic relationship with China a centerpiece of his presidency, reiterated that he wants a deal both sides can be happy with.

"I don't want to put them in a bad position," said Trump. "I want to put them in a great position. But it's called reciprocal. We have to have reciprocal trade. We can't have trade that's meant for stupid people."

Those briefed on the bid described the proposal earlier this week as falling short of many of the core demands the White House has repeatedly said are must-haves in trade talks with Beijing, including addressing technology transfers and intellectual property theft, according to one of the people briefed.

Instead, they described the proposal as a rehash of previous commitments Chinese leaders have publicly announced, like selectively lifting tariffs.