Perhaps President Trump wanted to distract from Joe Biden, who has just ramped up his campaign, or maybe Trump wanted to distract us from the possibility that we might soon be at war with Iran.
But in a blitz of interviews with ABC and Fox, the president offered his latest update on the possibility of a meeting with President Xi, during which he sounded like he was leaning back toward the meeting likely not happening. Recently, Trump has repeatedly suggested that plans are nearly in place for a meeting, while the Chinese have repeatedly denied this.
According to Trump, now “it doesn’t matter” whether President Xi and he meet later this month in Osaka; a trade deal with Beijing will soon be reached anyway, as Trump has been saying for weeks now.
In the mean time, the US can just sit back and enjoy the billions in tax revenue that’s not being paid, ultimately, by consumers.
“If he shows up, good,” Trump told Fox News on Friday. “If he doesn’t – in the meantime, we’re taking in billions of dollars a month.” He added: “Eventually, they’re going to make a deal, because they’re going to have to. Look, they’re paying hundreds of billions of dollars.”
Trump accused the Chinese government of subsidizing Chinese industry…
“They subsidize their industry, so our people are not paying,” Trump said on Fox. “There’s this big thing about tariffs, ‘Oh, our people pay.’ It’s a lot of nonsense. You know what happens, really? Companies move back.”
…and he again accused China of manipulating its currency to deaden the impact of US tariffs on Chinese goods, even after the US again opted not to officially label any country a manipulator. Ironically, the yuan has strengthened over the past week, largely because the PBOC decided to nudge it higher.
“They’re paying hundreds of billions in dollars. I have 25% on $250 billion…they’re manipulating their currency in order to pay for it,” he said.
Earlier, the WTO said the two countries had dropped their official dispute over intellectual property rights, but didn’t give a reason or offer any details. Whether or not that’s a sign that a deal is more likely is up for debate.