President Trump calls for new 'structure' for U.S.-China trade deal

15:41 | 24/05/2018 Global Economy

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signaled a new direction in U.S.-China trade talks, saying the current track appeared "too hard to get done" and that any possible deal needed "a different structure."

U.S. President Donald Trump - Photo: Xinhua/VNA

In an early morning post on Twitter, Trump cited difficulties such as verification but gave no other details about what he or his administration was looking for amid ongoing negotiations.

Representatives for the White House did not respond to a request for more information about the president's statement.

Representatives for China's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's statement.

"Our trade deal with China is moving along nicely, but in the end we will probably have to use a different structure in that this will be too hard to get done and to verify results after completion," Trump wrote in his post.

Trump's statement comes amid the negotiations between the world's two largest economies after potential tariffs on both sides raised fears of a trade war, even as some tensions have eased over signs of some possible progress.

Both sides claimed victory on Monday and pledged to continue talking after last week's round in Washington produced pledges that China would import more American energy and agricultural commodities, although there were no specifics.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was expected to visit China next week to help finalize an agreement. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday that Ross aimed to negotiate "a framework" that could then turn into "binding agreements ... between companies."

Trump on Tuesday, however, told reporters he was not pleased with recent talks, calling them "a start."

Any firm deal is likely to take a long time, according to most observers, and U.S. officials have threatened to return to tariffs, which prompted the current standoff, if needed.

Trump initially threatened to impose US$50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to retaliate with a levy on U.S. products, particularly agricultural goods. Trump then responded by threatening another US$150 billion in tariffs.

Trade talks have also been clouded by separate negotiations over the nuclear weapons program in North Korea, which counts China as its sole major ally.

Theo Cnbc