Trump says a US-China trade deal is possible, but he’s ‘happy where we are now’

President Donald Trump expressed optimism Wednesday for a trade deal with China but said he’s happy with the way things are going and is still considering putting tariffs on all Chinese imports.

The president, in an interview with Fox Business, said he is “very happy with where we are now. We’re taking in a fortune, and frankly [it’s] not a very good thing for China, but it is a good thing for us.”

His comments came the same morning that CNBC quoted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying a path to a deal with China was close. Stock market futures indicated a positive open on Wall Street amid the more hopeful trade talks, though they were off their highs of the morning following Trump’s comments.. 

While Trump stressed the importance of getting a deal, he also said the tariffs have been good for the U.S. economy.

“I view tariffs differently than a lot of other people,” he said, noting that since the U.S. has levied 25% duties on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods “our market has gone through the roof.”

“They want a deal more than I do,” he added.

Should the two sides hit another impasse, Trump said he’s prepared to put tariffs on the remaining $350 billion or so of good that flow into the U.S. from China. However, he said he’s open to a different strategy in the next phase, which could see 10% tariffs instead of 25% “which people can absolutely handle.”

The tariff strategy is part of a general attempt to level the playing field for the U.S. and its global trading partners.

“Almost all countries in this world take tremendous advantage of the United States. It’s unbelievable,” Trump said.

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