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Trump Tariffs Squeezing Chinese Economy

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Monday, US Teasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer may travel to Beijing for trade negotiations if talks by phone this week are productive.

“We expect to have another principal-level call this week, and to the extent we make significant progress, I think there’s a good chance we’ll go there later,” Mr. Mnuchin said at a briefing for reporters at the White House.

The planned phone call would be the second time the top trade negotiators have spoken since President Trump and Chinese President Xi called a truce in their year-long trade dispute during the G-20 Summit last month. The leaders agreed to restart talks for a trade deal, but they gave no hard time-frame to reach a deal.

Earlier Monday, President Trump indicated the US tariffs on China were having their intended impact by squeezing China’s economy.

He Tweeted, “The United States tariffs are having a major effect on companies wanting to leave China for non-tariffed countries. This is why China wants to make a deal.

President Trump’s comments came hours after China released figures showing growth in the world’s 2nd-largest economy slowed to 6.2% in Q-2, the weakest pace since Y 1992 when the country began collecting the data.

Despite the trade dispute, President Trump said President Xi is a friend of his. “I used to say he is a good friend of mine, probably not quite as close now. But I have to be for our country. He is for China and I am for the USA, and that’s the way it’s gotta be.”

Secretary Mnuchin also said he’s “hopeful” that Congress will approve the USMCA, the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump said on Monday that if Democrats block the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement he will resort to “Plan B,” without elaborating.

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