A senior adviser to China’s government spoke to the media on Saturday and said that multiple delays to reach a final, substantive trade deal are largely because of President Donald Trump’s concerns about the 2020 election.
“Look, Christmas is coming. He wants to be president again. American consumers are not going to accept higher prices on all these goods. He can claim victory any time he wants but that doesn’t mean he’s won or that a deal has actually been reached,” said Huiyao Wang.
Wang, who is not directly involved in the negotiations, was replying to questions about an emerging trade deal between the United States and China that Trump outlined Friday.
Trump has previously said he would insist on a full-blown trade agreement – not a piecemeal deal – that would settle long-running disputes over tariffs, currency rates, technology sharing and intellectual property laws.
Trump said the U.S. and China have “agreed in principle” on a preliminary trade agreement.
“There’s too many factors at play for him to just issue threats to governments, China’s or anybody else’s, to just follow along with what he says,” said Wang, referring to the U.S. president’s previous threats to slap additional penalties on Chinese goods.
Wang said Trump’s style of negotiation might work in the business world – “person to person” or “business to business” – but it’s less effective for “state to state” relations.
Trump said Friday that negotiators were working on “phase one” of a deal that would ease the trade war between the two countries. “Phase two” would be a broader agreement involving tougher issues, including the forced technology transfers that China imposes on U.S. businesses.
Wang insisted that China has been “accommodating” of many of the Trump administration’s central demands.
Trump boasted about the deal in a Saturday tweet, “The deal I just made with China is, by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country.”