Trump, in tweet storm, says ‘no need to rush’ with China trade deal

President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House, December 13, 2018.
Jim Young | Reuters President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room
of the White House, December 13, 2018

Maggie Fitzgerald | @mkmfitzgerald

President Donald Trump said in a tweet storm Friday morning that he is in no rush to finish trade negotiations with China and that tariffs “will make our country stronger.”

“Talks with China continue in a very congenial manner – there is absolutely no need to rush,” the president said in one tweet.

Stock futures fell following the tweets, including Dow Jones Industrial Average futures, which dropped 150 points.

The tweets came hours after the U.S. increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products from 10% to 25%. China’s Commerce Ministry said immediately after the midnight deadline for the tariff hike that it would retaliate against the American move.

Traders were hopeful the U.S. and China would be able to make a resolution before the tariffs went into place on Friday. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met with top U.S. trade officials Thursday evening in Washington, a short time before the tariffs were set to hike.

Trade talks are set to continue on Friday despite the tariff increase.

“This evening, (United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer) and (Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin) met with President Trump to discuss the ongoing trade negotiations with China. The Ambassador and Secretary then had a working dinner with Vice Premier Liu He, and agreed to continue discussions tomorrow morning at USTR,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement Thursday evening.

Trump said in his tweets that in addition to hiking tariffs he will continue to negotiate with China in hopes that they do not again to to “redo” a deal. That referred to his earlier assertion that China had backtracked on nearly all aspects of the trade deal.

Stock market futures danced as Trump tweeted Friday morning. Trump deleted the original tweets, including the one that referenced ‘no need to rush,’ but then repeated them, adding to the market volatility.

When asked about the president’s tweet sequence this morning, White House officials told CNBC, “The Tweet speaks for itself … again.”

Trump also said the tariffs will make the country “much stronger,” and used the situation to take a shot at former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2020 election.

Trump later in the tweet rant defended the tariffs saying that “tariffs will bring in FAR MORE wealth to our country than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind.”

After a troubling week for stocks, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 650 points and the S&P 500 has lost about 2.5%, all the three major indexes are set to open lower on Friday.

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