President Donald Trump announced Saturday that trade talks with China will resume as he holds off — for now — on a $300 billion batch of tariffs he had threatened to impose on Chinese products.
“We’re right back on track and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping while they were at the G20 summit in Japan, according to a White House transcript of his remarks.
“We’re holding back on tariffs, and they’re going to buy farm products,” Trump told reporters later in the day before leaving Japan. “And if we could make a deal, it would be a very historic event.”
Trump did not guarantee that negotiations would produce an agreement, but said both sides were committed to making the effort.
“We’re going to work with China on where we left off, to see if we can make a deal,” Trump said, according to a White House media pool report.
“China is going to start — they’re going to be consulting with us, and they’re going to start spending money, even during the negotiation, to our farmers, our great farmers in the Midwest. I call them the ‘great patriots’ because that’s what they are. They’re patriots,” Trump said,
“And China is going to be buying a tremendous amount of food and agricultural product, and they’re going to start that very soon, almost immediately. We’re going to give them lists of things that we’d like them to buy,” he added.
“Our farmers are going to be a tremendous beneficiary. You know, if you look at farmers — for 15 years, before I came into the — into this position, farms and farmers have had a hard time,” he said.
Trump also said that based upon talks between the U.S. and China, American companies would be able to sell component products to Chinese telecom giant Huawei, provided there were no national security implications.
“[W]e send and we sell to Huawei a tremendous amount of product that goes into the various things that they make. And I said that that’s OK, that we will keep selling that product,” Trump said.
“And in some cases, we’re the ones that do it and we’re the only ones that do it. We’re the only ones with the technology. What we’ve done in Silicon Valley is incredible actually,” he added.
“And nobody has been able to compete with it. And I’ve agreed — and pretty easily — I’ve agreed to allow them to continue to sell that product so American companies will continue. And they were having a problem. The companies were not exactly happy that they couldn’t sell because they had nothing to do with whatever was potentially happening with respect to Huawei. So I did do that.”
Reaction to the progress Trump announced was positive.
“We are encouraged the talks are restarting and additional tariffs are on hold and we look forward to getting more detail on the president’s remarks on Huawei,” John Neuffer, president of the U.S. Semiconductor Association, said in a statement to Reuters.
“Returning to negotiations is good news for the business community and breathes some much needed certainty into a slowly deteriorating relationship,” Jacob Parker, a vice president of China operations at the U.S.-China Business Council, added to Reuters.
Parker noted talks do not assure an agreement, but said he was happy the two sides are talking.
“Now comes the hard work of finding consensus on the most difficult issues in the relationship, but with a commitment from the top we’re hopeful this will put the two sides on a sustained path to resolution,” he said.
Speaking to reporters following his private meeting with Trump, Xi said “one basic fact remains unchanged: China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in confrontation.”
“Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation,” he said, according to CBS News.