President Donald Trump on Friday did not rule out canceling planned trade talks next month with Chinese officials, saying he is not yet ready to make a deal with the Asian economic powerhouse.
He also announced the United States is cutting all ties to Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications company that Beijing considers one of its industrial champions but the Trump administration contends is a national security threat. Trump left open the possibility of rebuilding that link if his team can strike a deal with China.
“We are talking to China. We are not ready to make a deal, but we’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for fundraisers in New York and a 10-day working vacation at his New Jersey resort. “China wants to do something, but I’m not doing anything yet. Twenty-five years of abuse.”
“I’m not ready so fast,” said the sweating president as he took questions for a half-hour under an intense early August sun, notably striking — again — a much more pessimistic tone after years of promising a trade pact with Beijing.
Trump’s decision to sever ties with the Chinese firm came after President Xi Jinping’s government said it would renege on a pledge to purchase additional U.S. farm products. That came after Trump announced he would slap additional tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese-made items after a recent — and very brief — round of revived trade talks went nowhere.
The trade tussle — which has expanded beyond just trade, with the Trump administration formally dubbing China a currency manipulator — has rattled U.S. and global markets. And that unease has sparked warnings of a global recession.
The S&P 500 index, for instance, on Monday had its worst drop ever after Trump and China traded elbows.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average also had big losses earlier this week on the U.S.-China tensions, and had another negative start on Friday. Shortly before the president emerged from the White House residence and began taking questions, the Dow started falling. It mostly, as of late morning, has continued a downward trajectory, off by nearly 250 points as a rough week plods to a close on a jittery Wall Street.
Meanwhile, Trump again took a shot at 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden by again questioning whether the 76-year-old former vice president has the mental chops to be commander in chief. Biden leads Trump in hypothetical head-to-head polls.
“Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck,” he said. “This is not someone you could have as your president. But if he got the nomination, I would be thrilled.”