WASHINGTON—President Trump said the U.S. is getting much closer to a trade deal with China, a sign of optimism ahead of the Group of 20 leaders summit in Argentina later this month.
“We’ll be having dinner. We’ll be discussing it,” Mr. Trump told reporters Friday of his coming meeting with President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires.
“I think a very good deal will be made with China. They want to make it very badly. We want to make a deal if we can. A lot of progress has been made,” Mr. Trump said.
At the same time, Mr. Trump said tariffs had hurt the Chinese economy and he is prepared to deploy more.
“If we can open up China and make it fair for the first time ever—this should have been done years ago by other presidents, but it wasn’t—I am very willing to do it. But China very much wants to make a deal,” the president said.
Mr. Trump’s remarks came after his administration this week barred exports and transfers of U.S.-origin technology to a Chinese state-owned chip maker, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., and the Justice Department accused Jinhua, its Taiwan partner and three Taiwanese nationals of stealing trade secrets from U.S. memory-chip maker
The tensions with China have been a sore spot in many rural communities in the U.S. After the Trump administration imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, Beijing responded with retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports to China, hurting farming communities, many of which are counted among Mr. Trump’s supporters. Voters have raised the issue of tariffs at election rallies before next week’s U.S. midterm elections.
Separately, the White House said Friday Mr. Trump won’t travel to Colombia following the trip to Argentina for the G-20 summit, citing a scheduling issue.
President Trump met with Colombia’s newly-elected President Iván Duque on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25.
The White House said Mr. Trump looks forward to future opportunities to engage with his Colombian counterpart.
—Vivian Salama contributed to this article.
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