On Thursday, US President Trump that he would consider an interim trade deal with China, even though he would not prefer it. The president told reporters he would like to ink a full agreement with the world’s second-largest economy. However, he left the door open to striking a limited deal with Beijing.
“If we’re going to do the deal, let’s get it done,” he told reporters as he left for a congressional Republican retreat in Baltimore. “A lot of people are talking about it, I see a lot of analysts are saying an interim deal — meaning we’ll do pieces of it, the easy ones first. But there’s no easy or hard. There’s a deal or there’s not a deal. But it’s something we would consider, I guess.”
Trump’s statements add to confusion sparked earlier in the day about what the White House would accept in its ongoing negotiations with China. U.S. stock indexes initially climbed on a report that the Trump administration talked about crafting an interim agreement. A White House official then said the U.S. is “absolutely not” considering such a deal, causing markets to give up some of those gains.
As the trade war rages, Trump has downplayed its effects on American consumers and the U.S. economy. The president has said he is fine to leave tariffs in place, arguing China has taken a bigger hit from the duties than the U.S. (American businesses bear much of the cost of Trump’s tariffs).
Still, he wants to strike a deal with Beijing and force China to change its trade practices as he looks to show he has followed through on a key campaign promise ahead of his 2020 re-election bid.