Trump Urges Cooperation, Seeks Trade Resolutions

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday urged cooperation in pursuing resolution to the ongoing trade disagreements with China, reports Jim Wiesemeyer of Pro Farmer. 

“We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good,” Trump said. 

Trump’s ongoing talks with China and pursuit of fair trade were key examples of this in his address. He said talks with China must end unfair trade practices, reduce our trade deficit and protect American jobs.

Wiesemeyer said the president will likely meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Vietnam in late February, around the time he meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a second summit. 

The president told a group of television news anchors hours before his address on Tuesday that he plans to meet Xi during his time abroad this month, Wiesemeyer added, although it was not clear whether their sit-down would also occur in Vietnam. 

“We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end,” Trump said, noting his respect for Jinping.

After Trump's speech, U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer said in a statement that “confronting China’s unfair trade practices” would help expand America’s export opportunities, strengthen its manufacturing and promote its “leadership in today’s digital economy.” Lighthizer added that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would be “a model for all future trade deals.”

The number of items Beijing has deemed non-negotiable has dropped after ongoing talks with China about Washington’s 142 trade demands, reported a senior Trump administration official. The most challenging issue was enforcement, the official said, but details of any possible verification framework remain unclear.

Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing early next week to continue trade talks. Wiesemeyer said that a meeting between the two officials with their Chinese counterparts is seen as laying the groundwork for President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to close a deal. 

The trade war truce between the U.S. and China will expire on March 1.

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