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Trump tweet on ‘Tariff Man,’ China trade war negotiations, Xi Jinping



trump xiGetty Images / Thomas

  • President Donald Trump expressed optimism for a possible
    US-China trade deal on Tuesday but warned if talks fall apart, he
    is “a Tariff Man.”
  • The warning comes days after Trump and Chinese President Xi
    Jinping made a preliminary trade agreement to delay the trade
    war’s escalation.
  • The US promised to delay the increase of its tariffs on $200
    billion worth of Chinese goods by 90 days.
  • But the deal was also vague, and the uncertainty has led to
    skepticism that the divides between the US and Chinese goals can
    be bridged.

President Donald Trump warned as part of a Tuesday tweetstorm
that a potential trade deal with China could still fall through
but said preliminary negotiations with Chinese President Xi
Jinping were encouraging.

President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it
probably will. But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man,” Trump
said. “When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth
of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so.
It will always be the best way to max out our economic

Trump has long been a “Tariff Man,” advocating for duties
on imported cars and goods as far back as the 1980s. In a 1990
interview with Playboy, the then-real estate investor said

imposing tariffs on Japanese cars
would be the first order of
business if he ever won the presidency.

The warning comes days after Trump and Xi reached a
preliminary agreement to delay the further escalation of the
US-China trade war. 

But Trump also expressed optimism for the 90-day
negotiating period before tariffs are set to increase. He said Xi
already agreed to take concrete steps towards alleviating the
trade war.

“China is supposed to start buying Agricultural product and
more immediately,” he tweeted. “President Xi and I want this deal
to happen, and it probably will.”

Read more:
The US-China trade war might still rage on despite a breakthrough
deal between Trump and Xi

While the two sides left talks in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
with an upbeat attitude, confusion and a lack of clarity around
what exactly Trump and Xi agreed to has
left many experts skeptical that a concrete deal
can be
reached in such a short window.

The two countries
issued wildly different statements,
and Trump administration
officials have
offered changing accounts
of the deal’s details in the days
since the meeting.

What is clear is that if no deal or further extension of
talks is agreed upon by March 1, the US’s tariffs on roughly $200
billion worth of Chinese goods will increase from the current 10%
rate to 25%. Trump also threatened to impose tariffs on the
remaining $267 billion worth of Chinese goods not currently
subject to tariffs.

While the the negotiations are held over the next three
months, the tariffs on $360 billion worth of goods flowing
between the two countries will also remain in place.

The president also confirmed that US Trade Representative
Robert Lighthizer, who has been critical of China in the past,
will lead the negotiations with the help of other administration

“The negotiations with China have already started. Unless
extended, they will end 90 days from the date of our wonderful
and very warm dinner with President Xi in Argentina,” Trump said.
“Bob Lighthizer will be working closely with Steve Mnuchin, Larry
Kudlow, Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro on seeing whether or not a
REAL deal with China is actually possible. If it is, we will get
it done.”

Read more:

Trump’s newest pick to lead the trade fight against China
reportedly took the Chinese by surprise and could be bad news for
a deal»

But despite the uncertainty and threats, Trump also said he
was open to signing a possible agreement if one is reached
between Chinese and US negotiators.

“But if a fair deal is able to be made with China, one that does
all of the many things we know must be finally done, I will
happily sign,” Trump said. “Let the negotiations begin.”

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