The Group of 20 summit later this month could lead to progress towards a trade deal with China but is not the venue for a “definitive agreement,” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Xi Jinping wants a deal “very badly” and repeated that he expects to meet with the Chinese leader at the summit in Osaka.
“They are getting hurt very badly by the tariffs,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We expect to meet with President Xi very shortly. We think we’ll meet with him at the G20.”
Talks between Washington and Beijing broke down last month after Trump accused China of reneging on commitments and after the United States took aim against China’s tech behemoth Huawei.
“Look, we had a deal with China and then they went back on the deal,” Trump said Tuesday. “Unless they go back to that deal I have no interest.”
The countries have hit each other with steep tariffs on more than $360 billion in bilateral trade, rattling financial markets and business confidence.
The impasse has raised hopes that, on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit, Xi and Trump might jumpstart efforts at resolving the impasse. However, Ross tamped down expectations for a final agreement, which he said “is going to be thousands of pages.”
“At the G20, at most, it will be... some sort of agreement on a path forward,” Ross told CNBC. “It’s certainly not going to be a definitive agreement.”
But he said there eventually will be a deal.
“Even shooting wars end in negotiation.”
Trump last month started the process to impose 25 percent tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods and on Monday threatened to slap those duties on China immediately if Xi does not show up for the meeting in Osaka.
Ross defended the use of duties saying they are producing good outcomes, and said financial markets overreacted to the various tariff threats, including those against Mexico that had been due to take effect on Monday.
“I think what people have to learn to do, judge this administration by results. Don’t judge it by interim sound bites,” he said.
In a twitter screed Tuesday, Trump hammered home that point:
“Tariffs are a great negotiating tool, a great revenue producers and, most importantly, a powerful way to get... Companies to come to the USA and to get companies that have left us for other lands to come back home.”