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China blinks, seeks to end trade war

(Screenshot from YouTube)

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Did China just blink in the ongoing trade war with the United States?

Speaking on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, President Donald Trump said Monday that China contacted U.S. trade officials overnight to say it’s ready to return to the table for “calm negotiations.”

“China called last night our top trade people and said, ‘let’s get back to the table’, so we’ll be getting back to the table, and I think they want to do something,” Trump said, according to Reuters.

“They want to make a deal. That’s a great thing,” he added.

The development came after the Trump administration announced Friday tariffs on $550 billion in Chinese goods. Beijing also imposed retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods.

With Asian markets crumbling and China’s currency plummeting to an 11-year low, as reported by Fox News, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He told a state-controlled newspaper that “China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through calm negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict.”

“We believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial for China, the United States, nor to the interests of the people of the world,” he added, according to Reuters.

Intellectual property rights is a key component in Trump’s approach to China and the country’s top trade negotiator seemed to concede there.

“We welcome enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China,” Liu said. “We will continue to create a good investment environment, protect intellectual property rights, promote the development of smart intelligent industries with our market open, resolutely oppose technological blockades and protectionism, and strive to protect the completeness of the supply chain.”

The concession follows the U.S. media berating President Trump for his hardline stance with China and the impact this was having on the economy.

Putting somewhat of a damper on things, Wall Street Journal White House reporter Rebecca Bellhaus, citing a Bloomberg report, tweeted early Monday that “China’s Foreign Ministry is saying it has no information on the phone calls to the U.S. that Trump just described.”

Tweeting from the G7 summit, Trump noted how world leaders are laughing at the U.S. media over its inaccurate reporting.

“In France we are all laughing at how knowingly inaccurate the U.S. reporting of events and conversations at the G-7 is. These Leaders, and many others, are getting a major case study of Fake News at it’s finest! They’ve got it all wrong, from Iran, to China Tariffs, to Boris!” he tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1165763483322834944?s=20

“They’ve been hurt very badly but they understand this is the right thing to do,” the president said of China.

President Trump said he expects negotiations to start very soon.

“I think we are going to have a deal,” he insisted. “They have supply chains that are unbelievably intricate and people are all leaving and they are going to other countries, including the United States by the way, we are going to get a lot of them too.”

Sitting with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G7 sumitt, Trump announced ” a very big transaction” in response to the trade war with China.

“We have excess corn in various parts of our country with our farmers because China did not do what they said they were going to do,” he stated. “And Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, on behalf of Japan, they’re going to be buying all of that corn.”

Trump essentially doubled down on his tactics while at the G7 summit, although the president’s remarks were misinterpreted as him having second thoughts.

When asked by a reporter about having second thoughts about the trade war with China, he answered, “”Yeah, sure. Why not? Might as well. Might as well.”

But the White House later clarified that the president was speaking about tariffs.

“His answer has been greatly misinterpreted,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said. “President Trump responded in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”

While speaking to a group of reporters, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also said Trump’s comments “weren’t meant to” be seen as backing off in the trade war.

“He doesn’t have second thoughts about what he has done. If anything, he wanted to clarify if he had second thoughts it would be to raise the tariffs,” Mnuchin said.

Here are some early reactions to the overnight news from Twitter:

https://twitter.com/dbongino/status/1165618813104197634?s=20

Tom Tillison

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