Trump says US under ‘no pressure’ for China trade deal

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…As US accuses Russia of covering up breaches of North Korea sanctions***

The US President Donald Trump said Washington is under “no pressure” to achieve a trade deal with China as the prospect of new tariffs loom.

The comments come amid reports the two sides could resume talks to stave off a third round of US tariffs.

China welcomed the offer of talks and said the two countries were discussing the details, according to reports.

The US has launched a trade war against China which could see all of its exports to the US subject to duties.

“We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us,” Mr Trump said in a tweet on Thursday.

“Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing.”

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The US and China have slapped tariffs on $50bn of one another’s goods this year in an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

The tariffs are the latest Trump policy to challenge the free trade system which has prevailed for decades.

They are already affecting companies, particularly the automobile industry, and hurting economies.

Mr Trump said last week he could move “very soon” to impose tariffs on an additional $200bn (£153bn) worth of products with taxes on another $267bn “ready to go on short notice”.

If both sets of tariffs go ahead it would mean virtually all of China’s US exports would be subject to new tariffs.

“The [US] administration views tariffs as a way of getting the attention of the Chinese leadership and increasing their leverage at the negotiating table,” Michael Froman, former US trade representative told the BBC.

“I don’t think the imposition of tariffs are a wise move because it’s a tax, it’s a tax on the consumer ultimately. It’s also very disruptive to companies who are trying to manage global supply chains.”

Potential talks

Details on the potential trade talks were thin, but Larry Kudlow, White House economic advisor, said the prospect of talks was a positive development.

Mr Kudlow told Fox Business News on Wednesday that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “has apparently issued an invitation”.

“I can’t give you many details because there aren’t many details. But I always believe in most cases talking is better than not talking, so I regard this as a plus.”

Later on Thursday, China’s foreign ministry welcomed the offer of talks and said the two countries were discussing details.

The White House says tariffs are a response to China’s unfair trade policies, which Mr Trump blames for helping to create a huge trade deficit.

China accuses the US of launching “the largest trade war in economic history” and has retaliated in kind.

In the meantime, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russia on Thursday of seeking to cover up breaches of UN sanctions on North Korea by Russians after Moscow pushed for changes to be made to an independent report on sanctions violations.

The report, submitted to the UN Security Council North Korea sanctions committee last month said Pyongyang has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and is violating UN sanctions on exports.

Diplomats said Russia pressured the independent sanctions monitors to amend the report. The 15-member Security Council has to agree by consensus on whether to publish the report and the United States objected to releasing the amended document.

“Russia can`t be allowed to edit and obstruct independent UN reports on North Korea sanctions just because they don`t like what they say. Period,” Haley said in a statement. “The full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions remains mandatory for all member states – including Russia.”

The Russian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The chair of the independent panel of UN sanctions monitors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The amended report removed some references to Russians accused of breaching sanctions on North Korea, said one diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Russia and China have suggested the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in June and Kim pledged to work toward denuclearisation. The United States and other council members have said there must be strict enforcement of sanctions until Pyongyang acts.

BBC with additional report from Zee