Trump changes his tone on China deal after market slide

After President Donald Trump helped send markets tanking by feeding doubts about his trade deal with China, ...

Posted: Dec 6, 2018 10:32 AM
Updated: Dec 6, 2018 10:32 AM

After President Donald Trump helped send markets tanking by feeding doubts about his trade deal with China, he stepped in Wednesday to pump up optimism in a series of early-morning tweets.

The US President cited "very strong signals" overnight from Beijing, including recognition of a 90-day clock for talks -- a key point that had been omitted in readouts from Beijing after Trump's Saturday night dinner meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce also reaffirmed Beijing's pledge to "implementing already-agreed-on specific points as quickly as possible."

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It was welcome news for the American president after Tuesday's nearly 800-point slip on Wall Street -- Trump's favorite economic indicator.

Trump himself set off investor jitters with a series of Twitter posts Tuesday, issuing renewed threats to hike import duties if a deal isn't reached. "I am a Tariff Man," the President wrote.

Late Tuesday evening, he stepped in to reassure investors a deal with Beijing would happen "either now or into the future" after his top economic advisers spent the day attempting to do damage control in a series of appearances at a Wall Street Journal conference in Washington and on business news programs.

The White House has sought to portray developments with China as significant, pointing to never-before-seen participation by Xi as well as the direct engagement between the two presidents.

Trump went so far as to describe the Buenos Aires dinner as "extraordinary" and a "BIG leap forward," in a tweet Monday. But scant details and few public commitments by China on what its commitments would be under the verbal agreement between Trump and Xi erased some market exuberance over what was brokered between the world's two largest trading partners.

Along with confusion about whether Trump might still follow through with his threat to hike tariffs to 25%, markets remained uncertain about when relief from Beijing's own retaliatory tariffs might be coming -- particularly regarding the resumption of soybean and other agricultural imports blocked earlier this year after Trump imposed higher duties on Chinese products and auto tariffs.

Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday publicly said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a key figure in the trade discussions, gave assurances that Beijing was prepared to move quickly without offering specifics.

"Immediately? He said, 'Yeah,'" Kudlow relayed to the audience at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council annual conference in Washington.

"Immediately is a good word. What does that mean?" Kudlow said he asked He. "You mean Monday? Wednesday? And actually, I don't know the answer to that."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also tried to sell the deal as big win for the US, if reached, reassuring investors at the same Wall Street Journal event that Trump and Xi had agreed on "very, very specific issues" that touched on top American concerns related to intellectual property, forced technology, joint ventures and cyberissues.

"If we can get this right, this is one of the biggest economic opportunities for US businesses, US workers and the US economy," said Mnuchin.

The secretary stressed China made pledges well beyond Xi's willingness to take a second look at a $44 billion deal for Qualcomm Inc. to purchase NXP Semiconductors NV and roughly $1.2 trillion in commitments to purchase US agricultural, energy and other goods from the United States. "That was not the case at all," said Mnuchin.

"This was the first time that China responded to us on the structural side with very specific items," he said. The Treasury secretary said the Chinese government responded to a 30-page document sent by the Trump administration by providing a 142-item list with specific responses ahead of the dinner. There, Xi spoke for 45 minutes walking Trump through a "very specific plan," Mnuchin recounted.

Trump on Wednesday blamed Xi's longer trip home for the delay in reciprocal public statements from Beijing confirming Washington's version of the agreement.

"Very strong signals being sent by China once they returned home from their long trip, including stops, from Argentina," the President tweeted.

"Not to sound naive or anything, but I believe President Xi meant every word of what he said at our long and hopefully historic meeting," Trump tweeted. "ALL subjects discussed!"

That included fentanyl, a Chinese import Trump has vowed to stamp out. The President again on Wednesday hailed China's decision to label fentanyl a controlled substance a "game changer."

The US says China is the primary source of fentanyl found within US borders, according to a 2017 US congressional report citing law enforcement and drug investigators. The President declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency last year and whatever the final arrangement on trade, a commitment from the Chinese to crack down on fentanyl would be a win he can point to.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who is overseeing the White House's opioid response, told reporters ahead of the President's trip that shipments of fentanyl, which has resulted in the deaths of 30,000 Americans last year, "had to stop."

After years of negotiations dating back to President Barack Obama, China finally agreed at Saturday's dinner to designate the synthetic opioid fentanyl as a controlled substance -- meaning sellers would be subject to the maximum penalty under the law.

Trump again on Wednesday applauded giving sellers of the drug the death penalty, echoing his previous comments on stringent punishment for drug dealers, tweeting: "The results will be incredible!"

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
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Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
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Jasper221148
Attala214473
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Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 537813

Reported Deaths: 11024
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson791691529
Mobile41177808
Madison35002507
Tuscaloosa25871454
Shelby25076249
Montgomery24549591
Baldwin21290309
Lee15946171
Calhoun14556319
Morgan14364280
Etowah13890353
Marshall12262223
Houston10602282
Elmore10115206
Limestone10031151
St. Clair9890245
Cullman9730194
Lauderdale9449243
DeKalb8853188
Talladega8325176
Walker7259277
Autauga6971108
Jackson6830112
Blount6750139
Colbert6317134
Coffee5546119
Dale4869113
Russell444338
Chilton4343113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4040152
Escambia394577
Chambers3581123
Dallas3564153
Clarke351361
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302298
Winston275673
Bibb263064
Geneva252577
Marengo249664
Pickens234862
Barbour231956
Hale223677
Butler217869
Fayette212462
Henry189644
Cherokee184345
Randolph182042
Monroe178140
Washington167639
Macon160750
Clay156957
Crenshaw153357
Cleburne149241
Lamar143035
Lowndes139653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123041
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Coosa108928
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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