President Donald Trump's unpredictability is a "negotiating tool" that allows him to get what he wants, including when dealing with China, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday, while discussing reports that China is reluctant to strike a trade deal because of the president's impulsive behavior.
“We wouldn’t have gotten as far as he has now if he were a run-of-the-mill old fashioned in-the-rut type president," Ross told Fox Business' "Mornings With Maria." "That’s not what he is. That’s not why American people elected him. They elected him for what he is. He's willing to take challenges, willing to take on some risk.”
On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Beijing was not willing to reach a trade deal with Trump because it feared he'll back out. However, earlier this year, China backed out of a potential agreement.
White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director Peter Navarro had said Trump and China's President Xi Jinping would sign the first phase of the trade agreement during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, Chili, but the event has been canceled because of unrest in the country
On Friday, Ross said the countries are still working out when their leaders will meet.
"It was nice having the natural deadline of the Chilean conference because that made everybody focus on a finite date,” Ross said. “Hopefully we can resurrect a date right in that range because we know there's a gap in President Trump's calendar. We know there's a gap in President Xi's. So the question ought to be where not when...We’re pretty comfortable that phase one is in good shape”
China has agreed to make concessions on intellectual property, financial services, and agriculture, while the United States agreed not to raise existing duties on $250 billion of Chinese goods from 25 percent to 30 percent on Oct. 15.
The administration hasn't yet decided what will happen with tariffs on an additional $160 billion in goods, scheduled to come into play on Dec. 15.
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