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Trump says China trade deal 'close' but dashes hopes for signing details

14 Comments
By Jeff Mason

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday dangled the prospect of completing an initial trade deal with China "soon," but offered no new details on negotiations in a campaign-style speech touting his administration's economic record.

Markets had been on edge about Trump's highly anticipated remarks to The Economic Club of New York, but barely moved after the speech, which contained no major policy announcements. Rumors early on Tuesday that Trump might announce a venue and date for signing a trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping proved unfounded.

Trump said U.S. and Chinese negotiators were "close" to a"phase one" trade deal, but largely repeated well-worn rhetoric about China's "cheating" on trade.

"They are dying to make a deal. We're the ones that are deciding whether or not we want to make a deal," Trump said, echoing remarks he made on Saturday.

"We're close," he said. "A significant phase one trade deal with China could happen. Could happen soon. But we will only accept a deal if it's good for the United States and our workers and our great companies."

Trump said he would raise tariffs on Chinese goods "very substantially" if China does not make a deal with the United States. "And that's going to be true for other countries that mistreat us too," he added.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow later told CNBC that the phase one agreement could include some adjustments to tariffs already in place, but neither side would agree to such steps "until the entire deal is put together."

U.S. stocks largely drifted sideways as Trump spoke, holding onto modest gains. The S&P 500 was up about 0.3% in afternoon trade, close to a record high. The response in bond and foreign exchange markets was equally subdued.

"The only thing that's maybe new is that he did not announce a date and a time for a signing ceremony," Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York, said of the speech. "Where markets had been hoping for that, those hopes were dashed," he added, saying that buying of riskier assets faded when it became apparent that no major announcement would be made.

Trump once again took aim at the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decisions that have left U.S. interest rates higher than many other economies and said he would prefer negative rates.

The Fed has cut interest rates three times since July, following a string of nine increases since late 2015. Trump has repeatedly railed against the Fed for not lowering rates even more.

"Remember we are actively competing with nations that openly cut interest rates so that many are now actually getting paid when they pay off their loan, known as negative interest. Who ever heard of such a thing?" Trump said in his remarks.

"Give me some of that. Give me some of that money. I want some of that money. Our Federal Reserve doesn't let us do it," he said.

But Kudlow told CNBC that he did not believe negative rates were needed given the strong U.S. economic performance. "I don’t think the United states needs negatives rates ... because our economy is in very good shape," Kudlow said.

Trump touted tax cuts passed by Republicans in 2017, saying they have created an unprecedented economic boom, and said there was room for further reductions in rates too. He alluded to a Republican "tax cut 2.0" plan that has been stalled by Democrats in the House of Representatives.

As he often has, Trump pointed to the stock market's run-up as a validation of his economic and trade policies.

The S&P is up more than 36% since Trump took office, though two-thirds of that gain occurred in his first year in office before he began imposing tariffs on imports from China. Stocks have found the going far more choppy since the first wave of tariffs were imposed in 2018, though all three major indexes hit record highs last week.

The latest back-and-forth between Washington and Beijing illustrates the bumpy state of play. Last week, officials from both sides said they had a deal to roll back tariffs, only to have Trump deny any deal had been agreed on.

Tuesday was Trump's second appearance at the storied Economic Club of New York, which has hosted U.S. presidents including Woodrow Wilson and John F Kennedy, as well as foreign leaders like former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Trump previously addressed the organization in 2016 when running for president.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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"close" to a"phase one" trade deal,

I wonder whether this phase of the trade deal includes even more business arrangements between Trump/Ivanka Inc. and the Chinese Communist Party (CPC).

Given Trump's highest priority is increasing his family fortunes while in office (and paying off loans to international 'financiers') and not the American people, I think he's probably once again put his bank accounts first.

But also given Trump's lied and flip-flopped so many times, I can't trust this, his latest claim, which was probably done to quiet those watching stock prices. That would include Trump and family.

Does anyone know whether Trump's released his tax info since he's been in office to see which companies he owns shares in, and whether any of them have got even larger government contracts or increased subsidies (aka socialism for the rich) since 2016?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Donny is constantly saying things, but rarely is what he says accurate or truthful.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The master it market manipulation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Another distraction from the public impeachment inquiry coming soon. He wants to test the waters and sees what bites, so he is attending all of these sporting events. I guess he will show up at Kanye's Church session too.

I predict North Korea will make some noise soon to see if the president wants to dance because they both need a publicity win at the moment.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Go Trump Go forward... Fake media, the corrupt media, the left media will keep barking at you. Never mind. Keep the good work. Bring China to our door step. Let them buy ours and stop stealing our intellectual property. No more bribe as they gave to Obama, Biden , Hilary and the kin pins. That era is over. Now we have President who is a patriot.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Now we have President who is a patriot.

Yes, very patriotic where money is concerned. It seems all bow before China when it comes to filthy lucre. Freedom of speech gets chucked out the window; witness the NBA tweet debacle and CBS censoring a show that satirized (ironically) Chinese censorship.

Meanwhile, China imprisons millions because of their religion and it continues to occupy and brutalize.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Now we have President who is a patriot.

Dang straight - he won't let the Chinese cheat us out of jobs with their unfair trade policies....he protects American workers and stands up to the Chinese dictators...

Just look at where he gets his clothing line and Ivanka her shoe line made....in...er.....uh....Chinese sweatshop factories....

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-event-touted-made-america-goods-lot-his-merchandise-couldn-n893656

Some patriot...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There have been no new changes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Trump is still waiting for the his other Chinese made shoe to drop.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Trump touted tax cuts passed by Republicans in 2017, saying they have created an unprecedented economic boom, and said there was room for further reductions in rates too. He alluded to a Republican "tax cut 2.0" plan that has been stalled by Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Yeah, The Dems don't want the economy to get any better between now and 2020, that's for sure.

Given Trump's highest priority is increasing his family fortunes while in office

Even if that was true, which it's not, fact is most Americans, including middle class Americans are doing better now financially and otherwise than they were 3 years ago, and that's with all the homeless wallowing in Democrat-run cities like San Francisco which Pelosi should be trying to fix instead of wasting time trying fruitlessly to remove Trump from office.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Even if that was true, which it's not, fact is most Americans, including middle class Americans are doing better now financially and otherwise than they were 3 years ago, and that's with all the homeless wallowing in Democrat-run cities like San Francisco which Pelosi should be trying to fix instead of wasting time trying fruitlessly to remove Trump from office.

Not to mention the biggest hurdle that the Democrats have is to try to convince the American people who are going to have a wonderful Christmas this year and are going to spend a lot of money according to analysts. So how do you attack the president on the economy. This is what Democrats don’t understand, the only thing that matters is the economy and Trump has not only improved it, but made it better for small businesses as well as international businesses and the Democrats are running on what.... Income redistribution, taxing more of the middleclass to pay for healthcare system that will never be implemented? There is no way that the Democrats can win even remotely close on the economy and beat the president, but maybe if they try to impeach him.....oh, wait....

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Trump is likely to be impeach, Biden leads 6% more than him in polls!

Xi Jinping wont be impeach, Xi has no political rivary, China has no supreme leader elections!

So who is going to win in trade war!?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is what Democrats don’t understand, the only thing that matters is the economy 

The people. The people come first. And I don't mean the elite lining their own pockets and the tax breaks that they get from the conman in the White House.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If that were true about the people, Dems wouldn’t be trying to tear the country apart because they know they can’t win an election next year.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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