President Donald Trump said on Sunday the U.S. is working to level the playing field regarding trade with China, as the two countries aim to avoid a trade war by continuing discussions in Washington this week.
“China and the United States are working well together on trade, but past negotiations have been so one sided in favor of China, for so many years, that it is hard for them to make a deal that benefits both countries. But be cool, it will all work out!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Tensions with China remain high, as both Washington and Beijing have threatened to impose tens of billions of dollars’ worth of sanctions on each other’s exports, which could have a profound effect on many U.S. industries, especially agriculture.
Representatives from both the U.S. and China – which boast the world’s largest economies, with nominal GDPs of nearly $19.4 trillion and approximately $12 trillion, respectively – held trade talks in early May. During the meetings, the U.S. delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin demanded China cut the trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion, sharply lower tariffs and advance technology subsidies, according to Reuters, which citied people familiar with the talks. China had a trade surplus of $375 billion with the U.S. last year.
Despite the strained relations, Trump on Sunday said he instructed the U.S. Commerce Department to assist Chinese telecom giant ZTE in getting “back into business, fast.”
“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” Trump tweeted. “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”
The company suspended its main operations after the administration banned U.S. businesses from providing it with supplies after ZTE was found to have violated restrictions on U.S. exports. Earlier this month, the Pentagon banned the company’s phones from U.S. military stores due to worries that China could spy on American military personnel.