WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Thursday there was much more he could do that would hurt China’s economy further, showing no signs of backing off an escalating trade war with Beijing.
Despite the rhetoric, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to meet at the G20 summit in Argentina in late November, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing officials in both countries.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has said the meeting was under discussion. The Journal reported the Trump administration in recent days told Beijing it will go ahead with the meeting, which China has been hoping could help ease the escalating trade tensions.
Asked about a Trump-Xi meeting at the G20 summit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news briefing in Beijing on Friday that, “China and the United States maintain communication at all levels of dialogue and exchanges.” He did not elaborate.
Trump imposed tariffs on nearly $200 billion of Chinese imports last month and then threatened more levies if China retaliated. China then hit back with tariffs on about $60 billion of U.S. imports.
“It’s had a big impact,” Trump said in a Fox News interview. “Their economy has gone down very substantially and I have a lot more to do if I want to do it.
“I don’t want to do it, but they have to come to the table.”
Trump said the Chinese want to negotiate but he does not believe they are ready and he told them so. He blamed previous U.S. presidents for allowing China to pursue unfair trade practices and said he had to tell Beijing, “It’s over.”
“They lived too well for too long and, frankly, I guess they think the Americans are stupid people. Americans are not stupid people. We were led badly when it came to trade,” Trump told “Fox & Friends.”
The growing trade war prompted the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday to cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Michael Martine; diting by Jonathan Oatis & Shri Navaratnam