US President Donald Trump Thursday accused China of trying to renegotiate a trade deal that has been negotiated after months of efforts and asserted he will not let that happen. The Trump Administration Friday imposed increased tariffs on import of Chinese products over USD200 billion worth from 10 percent to 25 percent. Trump told reporters earlier in the day that such a move is necessary to hold China to previous commitments. "We were getting very close to a deal, then they started to renegotiate the deal. We can't have that," he told reporters at the White House. Later in the day, the Chinese Vice Premier held meetings with the US Trade Representatives Robert Lighthizer. "We cannot have that. So, our country can take in USD120 billion a year in tariffs, paid for mostly by China, by the way, not by us. A lot of people try and steer it in a different direction. It's really paid, largely, by China. And businesses will pour back into our country. So instead of making the product, it'll be old fashion way, the way we used to do it. We made our own product," Trump said defending his decision.
The US president appeared to be fine with the situation wherein his country does not enter into a trade deal with China. "I think things are going along pretty well there. But a large group delegation, headed by one of the most respected men and highest officials of China, will be coming in today. They start at 5 o'clock. And they'll see what they can do," he said. "But our alternative is an excellent one. It's an alternative I've spoken about for years. We'll take in well over 100 billion a year. We never took in 10 cents from China. Not 10 cents. I think it will be a very strong day, frankly. We'll see. We'll see. It was their idea to come back," he said in response to a question. At the same time, he said that it is possible that the US and China will enter into a trade deal.
"Once the tariffs went on, they upped the meeting. It was supposed to take place originally on Thursday. Then, about five weeks ago, they said, 'How about Friday? How about next week?' I said, 'What's this all about?' And I said, 'That's okay, let's -- don't worry about it. Let's take in USD100 billion a year.' And we put the tariffs on, we made the statement, and then they upped the meeting. 'How about let's go back to Thursday?'" Trump said referring to the conversation his administration is having with the Chinese. Trump said last night he received a letter from the Chinese President Xi Jinping. "I have no idea what's going to happen. I did get, last night, a very beautiful letter from President Xi. 'Let's work together. Let's see if we can get something done.' But they renegotiated the deal. I mean, they took -- whether it's intellectual property theft, they took many, many parts of that deal and they renegotiated. You can't do that," he said.
Trump reiterated that the US is having trade imbalance with China, which he will not let happen any longer. "I'm different from a lot of people. I happen to think that tariffs for our country are very powerful. You know, we're the piggybank that everybody steals from, including China. We've been paying China USD500 billion a year for many, many years. China rebuilt their country because of us," he said. "They couldn't have done what they're doing. They're building a ship every three weeks. They're building aircraft like you've never seen. Fighter jets. I respect it. I don't blame them. I blame our past leadership for allowing this to happen," he said. Trump said what he is doing now with China should have happened many years ago. "Not just Obama; long before Obama. I always say, you know, if you look, NAFTA is one of the first deals ever made -- trade deal. But the worst trade deal ever made is the WTO, because China was flat-lining for many, many decades. It was flat, right here. The WTO came along. We allowed China into the WTO, and they became a rocket ship," he said.
"We are not going to be taken advantage of anymore. We're not going to pay China USD500 billion a year. So we put very heavy tariffs on China, as of Friday, and we put them on, also, eight months ago," he asserted. Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said, "This evening, Ambassador Lightizer and Secretary Mnuchin met with President Trump to discuss the ongoing trade negotiations with China. The Ambassador and Secretary then had a working dinner with Vice Premier Liu He, and agreed to continue discussions tomorrow morning at USTR.