Trump hardens tone on China

Updated September 04, 2019

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The latest invective from the White House ended the more conciliatory tone struck last week by both sides. — AFP/File
The latest invective from the White House ended the more conciliatory tone struck last week by both sides. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: Amid fresh signs his trade wars are rattling the US economy, President Donald Trump on Tuesday sent stern warnings to China, urging the Pacific power not to drag its feet in trade negotiations.

After a month of escalations in the year-long battle with Beijing, Trump sent a Twitter blitz saying Chinese negotiators may be holding out for a better deal in hopes he will be voted out in next year’s presidential elections.

The latest invective from the White House ended the more conciliatory tone struck last week by both sides, which had helped soothe markets.

“While I am sure they would love to be dealing with a new administration...16 months PLUS is a long time to be hemorrhaging jobs and companies,” Trump said, claiming China’s deteriorating economy could ill afford to wait.

“And then, think what happens to China when I win. Deal would get MUCH TOUGHER!” While Trump pointed to China’s weakening economy, a survey showed Tuesday that the US manufacturing sector — which Trump has long championed — had contracted last month for the first time in three years. While this does not necessarily mean a US recession is now on the horizon, economists said Tuesday it is a worrying sign.

Wall Street was already in the red early Tuesday, the first trading session since Trump jacked up duty rates on more than $100 billion in Chinese imports over the weekend. Shortly after 1600 GMT, the benchmark Dow had fallen 1.3 percent. Yields on 10-year US Treasury notes touched three-year lows.

The grim results for the US manufacturing sector were only the latest sign of softening US economy, which has seen slower hiring and a sharp drop off in investment by businesses.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2019