In Brief

Trump ‘rips into’ China ahead of renewed trade talks

Angry tweets see the US president accuse Beijing of breaking commitments

Donald Trump has accused China of breaking past commitments just as trade negotiations were set to resume yesterday.

“China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 - was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now - no signs that they are doing so,” the US president wrote on Twitter, referring to concessions he said President Xi Jinping agreed to last month.

Markets Insider said Trump’s tweet “cast doubt on the prospect of a breakthrough between the world's largest economies,” while CNBC said Trump’s tweets saw him “rip into China”. The Washington Post said Trump is “back-peddling” on his own commitments.

Trump’s subsequent tweets about Beijing were no more conciliatory. “My team is negotiating with them now, but they always change the deal in the end to their benefit,” he wrote.

Referring to how his position might develop if he won the 2020 White House election, he added: “The deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now... or no deal at all. We have all the cards, our past leaders never got it!”

However, Beijing says it has bought US agricultural products. The state-run media agency Xinhua said on Sunday that millions of tons of US soybeans have been shipped to China since July 19.

Trump’s raising of the rhetoric came as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were preparing to hold talks with Chinese economy czar Vice Premier Liu He this week. There has been a two-month hiatus in trade negotiations between the US and China. 

European stocks slid following his comments, with Germany’s Dax, France’s Cac 40 and the FTSE 100 all down.

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