US and China trade negotiators are rushing to complete a phase one trade deal before a December 15 tariff deadline goes into effect that will affect a batch of Chinese imports valued at $156 billion.
The tariffs target mobile phones, laptops and other high-value consumer goods.
China’s Ministry of Commerce continued to stress that they were working hard to hammer out details in a trade deal that is fair to both sides.
“This is in line with the interests of both China and the United States, and of the world,” said Gao Feng, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce.
In contrast, US President Donald Trump maintained that the US was in no rush to reach a deal.
“I can tell you this. China would much rather make a trade deal than I would,” said Trump in a tour of an Apple assembly plant in the US state of Texas on Wednesday. “I don’t think they’re stepping up to the level that I want.”
Trump has repeatedly stated that he wished US firms would move their production facilities out of China and back to the US. A talking-point he referenced in his press conference at the Apple production plant on Wednesday with Apple CEO Tim Cook.
“Anybody following my campaign will know I was always talking about Apple, and I wanted to see Apple building computers in the United States. And that’s what’s happening,” said Trump to reporters.
“The nice part is [Tim Cook] dosen’t need to worry about tariffs, because when you build in the United States you don’t need to worry about tariffs. It helps people make the decision to come in,” added Trump.
Trade for both the US and China fell this year due to ramifications of the ongoing trade war. Chinese exports to the US fell by $53 billion and US exports to China fell by $14.5 billion compared to last year, according to a UN economic report released this month.
“Of the $35 billion Chinese export losses in the US market, about $21 billion (or 63 per cent) was diverted to these countries and others, while the remaining $14 billion was either lost or captured by US producers,” stated the UN report.