President Donald Trump said Tuesday if the Chinese don’t sign an acceptable trade agreement by next month, he will go ahead and allow a new round of tariff increases to take effect.
Speaking during a Cabinet meeting that the White House, the president did say that trade negotiations with China were progressing, but he wants to get a deal “I like.”
“If we don’t make a deal with China, I’ll just raise the tariffs even higher,” Trump pledged.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators were said to have been closer to a deal earlier this month than they’ve been in the past in an effort to end the current trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
Analysts say the punitive economic back-and-forth has harmed global growth, but Trump has routinely said that the U.S. is coming out better than China.
That said, American farmers have been particularly hard hit, with many teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that the president is backing a $12 billion farm subsidy plan that would send direct cash payments to farmers hardest hit by the ongoing trade war, which has been particularly tough on American agriculture.
The Times notes, for instance, that American soybean exports to China — the world’s biggest soybean consumer — have fallen 94 percent since last year.
As for a U.S.-China trade deal, there were hopes that a partial deal could be signed in mid-November in Santiago, Chile. But unrest in that country led to a cancellation of a planned summit, and there is no indication yet that it has been rescheduled.
“Chinese state media outlet Xinhua said “constructive talks” were held by phone on Saturday between China’s Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin,” Reuters reported.