WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday said he is confident the United States can forge a trade deal with China, but added that he thinks his country would do very well with or without an agreement with the major Asian economy.
Asked if he was still confident could get a deal with China: “Sure, I’m confident, but if we don’t make a very good deal for our country, I wouldn’t make a deal,” Trump said.
Asked about a report that China was not positive about a trade deal and that a meeting with President Xi Jinping might not happen: “I haven’t heard that. I think we’re doing well … We’ll do very well either way, with or without a deal.”
Earlier on Friday, White House trade adviser Clete Willems
the two countries had made progress in talks but that there was still much more left to be done.
Concerns that Trump will accept a bad trade deal with China are “totally inaccurate,” Willems said at an event.
China’s exports tumbled the most in three years in February while imports fell for a third straight month, pointing to a further slowdown in the economy and stirring talk of a “trade recession”, despite a spate of support measures.
The increasingly weak China data comes amid months of intense negotiations between Washington and Beijing aimed at ending their trade dispute. On Wednesday, the U.S. reported its goods trade deficit with China surged to an all-time high last year, underlining one of the key sticking points.
Chinese shares were slammed more than 4 percent lower on Friday after the data showed exports contracting, deepening fears for the world economy and pushing global equities to three-week troughs.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Lisa Lambert, Writing by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)