White House demands big reduction in trade deficit with Beijing

World Today

U.S. President Donald Trump is demanding big changes in trade with China after high-level talks that were held in Beijing. Among the White House demands: reducing the trade deficit by $200 billion by 2020. CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.

Following the return of his trade delegation from Beijing on Saturday, President Trump insisted that the trade deficit between the U.S. and China must be reduced.

Trump’s comments come as the world worries whether the two largest economies are sliding toward a trade war. The president was speaking in Cleveland, Ohio, promoting his tax plan, when he made the comment.

“My group just got back from China. We’re going to have to rework trade with China because that’s been a one-way street for decades, and we just can’t have it happen,” said Trump. “We have deficits with everybody. And don’t let anyone ever tell you that trade deficits are okay. They’re not okay. They’re not okay. We have massive trade deficits with China.”

The U.S. trade delegation, led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, spent two days in China meeting with Chinese leaders and business representatives.

It’s been reported that in the meetings, the U.S. delegation outlined demands for China to reduce its trade imbalance with the U.S. by $200 billion by the end of 2020.

Last year’s deficit with China was $375 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In just the first three months of this year, the U.S. ran up a trade deficit of $90 billion.

China has reportedly offered to increase U.S. imports and lower tariffs. But at the same time, Beijing is demanding the U.S. ease sanctions on the Chinese technology firm ZTE.

Trump often complains about U.S. trade deficits with countries around the world. He has vowed to lower them as part of his America First plan, to boost the U.S. economy and jobs.

That followed a telephone conversation on Saturday between President Xi Jinping’s top foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The two men discussed the ongoing trade dispute, according to Yang, and the need for closer communications between the two countries.