President Donald Trump on Tuesday railed against China for failing to deliver on his high-profile promise it would buy significant quantities of farm goods, warning the country not to try to wait out his administration in hope of negotiating a better deal with any new Democratic president.
“The problem with them waiting … is that if & when I win, the deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now … or no deal at all,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “We have all the cards, our past leaders never got it!”
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Trump’s comments, spread out over three tweets, came as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were in Shanghai for the first round of negotiations since talks between the two countries broke off in early May.
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to resume negotiations when the two leaders met at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. During a closing press conference, Trump said China would immediately begin purchasing substantial quantities of farm goods. But a month later no high-profile sales have emerged.
“China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 — was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now — no signs that they are doing so. That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through,” Trump said Tuesday in one of his tweets.
At the Osaka summit, Trump also indicated he would be easing some national security trade restrictions on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, a big foreign customer.
In a sign of progress on that front, the president agreed during a meeting with semiconductor and software company CEOs last week to an industry request that the Commerce Department provide “timely licensing decisions” on sales to Huawei, White House spokesperson Judd Deere said.
Still, Trump’s moves toward easing up on Huawei have drawn the ire of China hawks in both parties who fear the president could choose short-term agricultural purchases over national security.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a speech Monday on the Senate floor, urged Trump not to easily give up his leverage on Huawei, one of China’s biggest companies.
“The Trump administration has correctly sought restrictions on Huawei, even while they’ve sometimes [wavered] on their severity,” Schumer said. “Now, as negotiations are set to resume, the president must not give up leverage on Huawei in exchange for anything less than concrete commitments on market access, intellectual property theft, and forced technology transfers.”