Trump says September trade talks with China could be canceled

trump gagglePresident Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, in Washington, as he prepares to leave Washington for his annual August holiday at his New Jersey golf club.AP Photo/Evan Vucci

  • President Donald Trump said Friday that the next round of trade negotiations between the US and China could be canceled.
  • The comment cast doubt on hopes that the two sides could dodge sweeping escalations set to take place in September.
  • Trump also announced the US would cut ties with Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications and smartphone giant that has become a bargaining chip at the center of trade negotiations.
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President Donald Trump said Friday that the next round of trade negotiations between the US and China may not happen, casting doubt on hopes that the two sides could dodge sweeping escalations set to take place in September.

Asked by reporters on the South Lawn whether the planned talks in Washington next month would be canceled, Trump replied: "Maybe. We'll see what happens."

Trump said the meeting among US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and their Chinese counterparts was currently scheduled to take place. But he also emphasized that he was not ready to make any deal. Tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to take place September 1.

Trump also announced Monday the US would cut ties with Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications and smartphone giant that has become a bargaining chip at the center of trade negotiations. While he added that ban could change if a deal were reached, the prospect of de-escalation has dimmed in recent days.

Derek Scissors, a China scholar at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said he saw a significant chance of new tariffs. The key event to watch was the August 19 expiration of the temporary general license for supplying Huawei, he added.

"If the US announces new, long-term licenses by then, China has a reason to respond cooperatively," Scissors said. "Otherwise, there's very little time before the tariff deadline."

The comments Friday capped off a week of dramatic escalations in the yearlong economic dispute between the US and China, which has together led to more than $350 billion worth of tariffs and weighed on global trade flows.

Angry at China for not following through with a pledge to buy more agricultural products from the US, Trump announced plans to raise tariffs on Thursday. China has sought to reduce its reliance on American farmers in an effort to retaliate against the Trump administration.

China has continued to respond with countermeasures, suggesting this week it would wield the agricultural market and its currency against the US. The Treasury Department named China a currency manipulator in a rare move Monday after the yuan fell beyond the psychologically important level of seven against the dollar.

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