Trump says US, China trade deal could wait until after 2020 election

Trump has 'no deadline' to get a deal done

President Trump says a trade deal with China might have to wait until after the 2020 election, sending stock futures lower ahead of the opening bell.

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“In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now and we’ll see whether the deal’s gonna be right -- it’s gotta be right,” Trump told reporters in London where he was attending a NATO summit, adding that he has “no deadline” to complete an agreement.

The president’s comments come less than two weeks before the U.S. is scheduled to place tariffs on about $156 billion of Chinese goods. The duties would mark the latest escalation in a 17-month trade war that has seen the two countries -- the largest economies on the planet -- slap levies on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods.

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The trade battle has slowed the growth of both economies, forcing policymakers to take action. China has called on the U.S. to roll back tariffs as part of an initial trade agreement, something Trump has said he doesn't want to do.

China’s gross domestic product growth slowed to 6 percent in the third quarter, the weakest since record-keeping began in 1993. It is expected to slow to 5.8 percent next year as the trade war continues and debt levels grow, according to the International Monetary Fund’s October 2019 World Economic Outlook.

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The People’s Bank of China responded by cutting two key interest rates last month.

The U.S. economy, meanwhile, grew 2.1 percent in the third quarter, according to a second estimate from the Commerce Department, down from 3.1 percent growth in the first quarter of the year.

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The Federal Reserve has cut rates three times this year, in part to offset pressure from Trump's trade wars. The president has repeatedly called on the central bank to do even more, while maintaining that U.S. strength bolsters his negotiating position with Beijing.

“The China trade deal is dependent on one thing: 'Do I want to make it?'” Trump said. “Cause we’re doing very well with China right now, and we can do even better with the flick of a pen.”