President Donald Trump said on Sunday that talks on a trade deal with China are going “very well,” citing the weakening Chinese economy as an incentive for the nation to reach an agreement with the U.S.
“The tariffs have absolutely hurt China very badly,” Trump told reporters outside the White House before leaving on Marine One for a trip to Camp David. “I think China wants to get it resolved. Their economy’s not doing well.”
Washington and Beijing have been involved in a back-and-forth trade dispute throughout the course of last year. Trump’s administration has scrutinized China for having unfair trade practices and accused it of stealing American intellectual property and technology. As a result, Washington imposed billions of dollars’ worth of import tariffs on Beijing, with China responding with its own levies on U.S. goods.
The trade war between the world’s two largest economies has affected the U.S. and Chinese economies, as well as global markets. China’s central bank said last week it would cut bank reserve requirements by 1 percentage point, while U.S. stocks have seesawed in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, some U.S. companies cite the ongoing trade battle as the reason for weaker sales. Apple warned last Thursday that quarterly revenue for the holiday sales season would be lower than it had expected, due in part to the tariffs, causing shares of the company to plunge more than 9 percent.
Ford and General Motors said the tariffs have cost their companies about $1 billion in profits. GM also announced in November it planned to cut nearly 15,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada and shutter multiple production plants.
Officials from the U.S. and China are set to meet this week in Beijing, marking the first time the countries have held talks since Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed early last month to postpone further levies for 90 days in an effort to negotiate a deal.