WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said Thursday he received a “beautiful letter” from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and there is still a chance to salvage trade negotiations to resolve a year-long dispute.
“It’s possible to do it,” Trump told reporters at the White House, hours before the world’s top two economies were set to resume trade negotiations that seemed on the verge of collapse.
“I did get last night a very beautiful letter from President Xi. Let’s work together and see if we can get something done,” he said, adding that he and Xi likely would speak by telephone later.
Tariffs on hundreds of billions of Chinese-made merchandise are due to jump at midnight, however, and Beijing has promised to retaliate.
But Trump said he would be fine with either alternative, reaching a deal or moving ahead with steeper tariffs which he continues to say are a boon to the US economy, even while they raise prices to businesses and consumers.
“I am different than a lot of people. I happen to think that tariffs, for our country, are very powerful.”
US officials accuse Beijing of a sudden retreat from commitments agreed on during months of negotiations aimed at addressing Washington’s grievances about China’s unfair trade practices.
“They took many, many parts of that deal and they renegotiated. You can’t do that,” Trump said Thursday.
Wall Street reacted positively to the news of renewed communications, with the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average recovering some of its losses but remaining 0.7 percent in the red around 1700 GMT.—AFP