Trump touts tariffs as China, US fail to reach trade deal

Trade talks between the U.S. and China ended Friday without a deal, as President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Comey after CNN town hall: ‘He brought the FBI down’ White House says US, China trade talks to continue Friday Giuliani traveling to Ukraine to push for probes that could be ‘very helpful’ to Trump MORE ratcheted up tensions with Beijing by increasing tariffs on $200 billion in imports and declining to set a date for future talks.

In a pair of tweets, Trump called the past two days of negotiations “candid and constructive” but stressed he is prepared to wait out Chinese President Xi Jinping until he delivers on key concessions.

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“The relationship between President Xi and myself remains a very strong one, and conversations into the future will continue,” Trump said in the tweets. “In the meantime, the United States has imposed Tariffs on China, which may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations!”

Friday’s events capped off a remarkable collapse of the talks, which Trump just last month said would likely produce a “historic” and “epic” deal between the two economic superpowers that he planned to sign with Xi at a White House summit.

Trump’s hardened stance again raises the possibility of a full-blown trade war between the U.S. and China, with Beijing threatening to respond with “countermeasures” to the increased tariffs.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWhite House says US, China trade talks to continue Friday China warns of ‘necessary countermeasures’ if US imposes tariffs Dems say NYT report on Trump’s business losses boosts need to see president’s tax returns MORE and U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerChinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead Trump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks MORE met with a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday and Friday in an effort to strike a last-minute deal. But the talks ended Friday morning with no agreement in hand.

Mnuchin told CNBC later Friday that no further negotiating sessions are planned as of now.

The negotiations started to break down last weekend after U.S. officials accused Beijing of reneging on its pledge to change laws to address the Trump administration’s core complaints in the trading relationship, allegations the Chinese denied.

The Trump administration has long accused Beijing of imposing unfair requirements on U.S. companies seeking to do business in China, including forced technology transfers and ownership restrictions. 

Mr. Trump’s advisers want to ensure China does not violate an agreement that is aimed at giving American companies greater access to China’s market and ensuring protections for their technology and trade secrets.

Trump responded on Sunday in tweets by saying he would raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods, a decision that went into effect early Friday. He also threatened to slap 25 percent tariffs on an additional $325 billion in goods, which would cover almost all Chinese imports, if trade negotiations continue to falter.

Lighthizer said in a statement Friday evening that Trump has ordered him “to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China” and that formal steps would be taken starting on Monday.

Trump on Friday said he feels “no need to rush” to secure a deal with China and lauded what he sees as the virtues of tariffs for the U.S. economy.

“Tariffs will make our Country MUCH STRONGER, not weaker. Just sit back and watch! In the meantime, China should not renegotiate deals with the U.S. at the last minute,” he tweeted.

Stock markets fell in early morning trading, but later rallied after Trump and Mnuchin both called the talks “constructive.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up just over 114 points and the S&P 500 Index closed with a modest gain of 0.37 percent.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have rattled investors, with both major stock indexes down on the week, and they have angered some of the president’s Republican allies in Congress, who are also worried about the administration’s efforts to secure deals with Mexico, Canada and Europe.

China in the past has retaliated against Trump’s tariffs by taxing imports of major U.S. agricultural products, such as soybeans, corn and pork, which lawmakers complain hurt farmers in heartland states that are key to the president’s reelection campaign in 2020.

“A lot of farmers have said to me, it’s hurting us temporarily. But the president’s doing the right thing because you can’t let the Chinese screw us on international trade, where we have $600 billion deficit,” Sen. Charles GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill’s Morning Report – Barr held in contempt after Trump invokes executive privilege, angering Dems Trump gambles in push for drug import proposal Overnight Health Care: HHS issues rule requiring drug prices in TV ads | Grassley, Wyden working on plan to cap drug costs in Medicare | Warren to donate money from family behind opioid giant MORE (R-Iowa) told NPR on Tuesday. “So it’s time, I think, to strike a very strong, enforceable deal so that farmers, even nonfarmers, can get the certainty that they need.”

Trump has appeared sensitive to farmers’ concerns, saying that additional revenue from tariffs could be redirected into an aid package intended to defray their losses.

“Your all time favorite President got tired of waiting for China to help out and start buying from our FARMERS, the greatest anywhere in the World!” the president tweeted on Friday morning.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueEconomists quit Trump admin after their studies showed tariffs hurt US farmers: report Trump’s Fed pick on critics: ‘They’re pulling a Kavanaugh against me’ Amazon, Walmart to offer grocery delivery for food stamp recipients MORE said later that Trump had directed him to craft a plan to help farmers who are suffering from the effects of the trade dispute.

“@POTUS loves his farmers and will not let them down!” Perdue tweeted.

Updated 6:39 p.m.

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