President Donald Trump said Wednesday that trade talks with China are “moving along nicely” but hinted that a final agreement might be beyond reach amid negotiations aimed at resetting the U.S.-Chinese economic relationship.
“Our Trade Deal with China is moving along nicely, but in the end we will probably have to use a different structure in that this will be too hard to get done and to verify results after completion,” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning.
The president’s statement that talks are progressing struck a somewhat more optimistic note than his remarks a day earlier, when he said that he was “not satisfied” with the negotiations but that “we have a long way to go.”
The Trump administration has centered much of its attention in recent weeks on efforts to redraw the trade ties between the U.S. and China, a relationship the president has long lambasted as one-sided in favor of Beijing. Trump has complained especially loudly about the hefty trade surplus China runs with the U.S. every year as well as its tolerance of intellectual property theft.
Talks have also included a pledge from Trump to lift a seven-year ban on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE doing business with American companies. ZTE had been punished by the U.S. over its business dealings with North Korea and Iran, violating a previous penalty agreement.
U.S. negotiators, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, have met multiple times in recent weeks with emissaries from the Chinese government, culminating last weekend with Mnuchin’s announcement that the two sides would hold off on imposing billions in threatened sanctions. Talk of such sanctions had fueled fears of a looming trade war between the two nations.