WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday said the United States was “close” to an interim deal with China and that an agreement “could happen soon,” even as he renewed his threat of additional tariffs.
Mr. Trump’s remarks at the Economic Club of New York were likely to stoke still more uncertainty about how quickly the 19-month trade war will be resolved. He used the speech to claim credit for an economic “boom” while downplaying any negative impact on the American economy from the tariffs that both sides have placed on each other’s goods.
特朗普在纽约经济俱乐部(Economic Club of New York)发表的这番言论，可能会给持续了19个月的贸易战能够多快解决带来更多不确定性。他利用这次演讲宣称自己带来了经济“繁荣”，同时淡化中美双方对彼此商品加征关税给美国经济造成的任何负面影响。
If Beijing doesn’t accede to America’s trade terms, he said, “we’re going to substantially raise those tariffs.”
“We will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States,” he added.
Washington and Beijing are trying to reach a “Phase 1” trade agreement that would resolve some of the administration’s concerns about China’s economic practices and help defuse tensions that have slowed the global economy.
But Mr. Trump’s comments provided little clarity about whether the two sides were any closer to a deal. Since he announced on Oct. 11 that the United States had reached a preliminary agreement with the Chinese, the administration has vacillated between optimistic and pessimistic statements, and the countries now appear further from signing an agreement than he initially suggested.
Mr. Trump spent portions of the speech defending his tariffs to a group that has been among the most skeptical of the import taxes — New York business leaders. The president defended his approach, accusing China of cheating the United States for years and unfairly targeting American farmers with its tariffs.
He denied that his trade policy had created uncertainty for the economy, adding that the real cost “would be if we did nothing.”
The Trump administration has sent mixed signals about whether it would agree to roll back any of its existing tariffs on China as part of an initial agreement. Beijing has said easing tariffs is essential to any agreement and administration officials said last week they expected tariff relief as part of Phase 1. But other administration officials have disputed those statements and Mr. Trump himself has further confused things by saying the United States has not agreed to anything — yet.
In an interview later on Tuesday, Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said that it was “possible” that tariffs could be adjusted as part of the deal, but that neither side would agree to any tariff adjustments until the entire deal was finalized.
周二晚些时候接受采访时，美国国家经济委员会(National Economic Council)主任拉里·库德洛(Larry Kudlow)表示，将关税调整纳入协议是“可能的”，但在整个协议最终敲定之前，双方都不会同意任何关税调整。
“Since there’s no formal agreement we can’t say,” he said.
Mr. Kudlow added that China and the United States had made progress on strengthening China’s protections on intellectual property and its valuation of its currency, but that some other issues might slip into a second-phase agreement.