Q Do you have any predictions about China? Do you expect a whole new offer or any optimism?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they want to make a deal. They’re down three and a half million jobs since we started doing what we do. And their supply chain is really cracked and broken. And they want to make a deal.
Now, they’re coming to see us on Thursday and Friday. We think there is a chance that we could do something very substantial. Bob, I think you think that. We’ll see what happens. But, in the meantime, we’re taking in billions and billions of dollars of tariffs every month and we’ve never had this. We never took in 10 cents from China and we’re taking in billions of dollars and tens of billions a year.
And on October 15th, as you know, it goes up from — up to 35 — I guess, it goes to 35. It’s going to — it’s going to raise fairly substantially. We could always do it a lot more, but we’ve decided not to.
So that’s the story. And I think that they will — they’re coming to make a deal. We’ll see whether or not a deal can be made, but it’s got to be a fair deal.
Look, we’ve lost $500 billion a year for many, many years on average. If you include intellectual property theft and all of the other things that took place, it’s incredible that past administrations could have allowed it to happen. We’re talking about $500 billion — not million; that’s a lot, too — $500 billion a year, for many years, taken out of our country.
We rebuilt China. They did a great job and I don’t blame them. I told President Xi, “I don’t blame you one bit.” I blame the people that ran this country to allow that to happen. And they understand that. But we don’t let that happen anymore.
So, we’ll see what happens. We’re going to have a very important meeting. And they have their top people coming in. And I have my top people doing the job. And if I don’t think they’re doing a good job, I’ll fire them and I’ll go over and take their place. (Laughter.) Okay?
Q On Hong Kong, sir, are the Hong Kong protests linked, in your view, to the China trade negotiations in any way?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’d like to see a very humane solution to that. I hope that’s going to happen. And, you know, Hong Kong is very important as a world hub — not just for China, but for the world. And you have great people over there.
I see they’re flying the American flags. They even have signs: “Make China Great Again.” “Make Hong Kong Great Again.” (Laughter.)
And I’m saying, “Get those signs.” But they have, you know, tremendous signage and tremendous — they have a tremendous spirit for our country. They have a lot of American flags, a lot of Trump signs.
I’d just like to see a humane deal be worked out. And I think President Xi has the ability to do it.
I sort of said that I think if he met — he’s a very convincing man, and I think if he met with some of the leaders — that could be one problem, you don’t seem to have a specific leader of the group. But I really think they can do something. We just want to see a humane solution.
Q Did you tell Xi Jinping in any way that you would be quiet about Hong Kong protests during the course of these negotiations?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I didn’t. But I do say that we are negotiating. If anything happened bad, I think that would be a very bad for the negotiation. I think, politically, it would be very tough maybe for us, and maybe for some others, and maybe for him.
But, no, I think that they have to do that in a peaceful manner. It’s — now, I will say, the first time I saw it, if you look — a number of months ago, I saw 2 million people. I’ve never seen anything like it. We talk about crowd size. That was serious crowd size, right? The crowd size is much smaller now, so maybe that’s saying something. But hopefully they can work out something that’s amicable.
Q Mr. President, would you accept a partial trade deal with China? There has been some talk today about whether or not it could be headed in that direction.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s a very good question. I think it’s not what we prefer at all. They are starting to buy a lot of our agricultural products. You see that. They’re coming in very strong on pork, also — very, very strong — and in particular. But on other products, that — so, I don’t know if you call that a “partial.” We don’t have an agreement.
My inclination is to get a big deal. We’ve come this far. We’re doing well. Again, the fact that they’ve done what they’ve done with their currency — the devaluation — it really has not increased prices. And now we’re talking China. It doesn’t mean that in all cases that happens; other countries prices increase, but in the case of China that hasn’t happened. And they put a lot of money into their goods. They want to keep their people working. I understand that very well.
But I think that we’ll just have to see what happens. I would much prefer a big deal. And I think that’s what we’re shooting for. Can something happen? I guess, maybe. Who knows? But I think it’s probably unlikely. Okay?
Source: White House