Trump says tariffs making companies leave China, a deal can't be '50-50'




Containers are seen at a port in Huaian
Containers are seen at a port in Huaian  

By David Lawder and Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said his tariffs on Chinese goods are causing companies to move production out of China to Vietnam and other countries in Asia, and added that any agreement with China cannot be a "50-50" deal.

In an interview with Fox News Channel recorded last week and aired on Sunday night, Trump said that the United States and China "had a very strong deal, we had a good deal, and they changed it. And I said that's OK, we're going to tariff their products."

No further trade talks between top Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended on May 10 - the same day Trump raised the tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10 percent.

Trump took the step after China soured the negotiations by seeking major changes to a deal that U.S. officials said had been largely agreed.

Since then, China has struck a sterner tone in its rhetoric, suggesting that a resumption of talks aimed at ending the 10-month trade war between the world's two largest economies was unlikely to happen soon.

Trump, who said the interview with Fox News host Steve Hilton had taken place two days after he raised the tariffs, said he would be happy to simply keep tariffs on Chinese products, because the United States would be taking in $100 billion or more in tariffs.

But he added that he believed that China would eventually make a deal with the United States "because they're getting killed with the tariffs, China' getting totally killed."

But he said that he had told Chinese President Xi Jinping before the most recent rounds of talks that any deal could not be "50-50" between the two countries and had to be more in favor of the United States because of past trade practices by China.

Trump also said that Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. vice president Joe Biden should be investigated over a conservative author's allegation that Biden's son Hunter Biden took advantage of his father's position to sign a lucrative business deal with state-controlled Bank of China. The allegation was made in Peter Schweizer's 2018 book "Secret Empires."

Asked if this should be investigated, Trump said: "100 percent. It's a disgrace and then (Joe Biden) says China's not a competitor of ours. China is a massive competitor of ours. They want to take over the world."

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Sandra Maler and Richard Borsuk)

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