The day after a brutal stock selloff Tuesday, US President Donald Trump tried to instill some confidence in the prospects of a trade deal with China, saying that he sees “very strong signals” of good faith coming from Beijing.
US markets were closed on Wednesday for the state funeral of former president George H W Bush.
“Very strong signals being sent by China once they returned home from their long trip, including stops, from Argentina. Not to sound naive or anything, but I believe President Xi meant every word of what he said at our long and hopefully historic meeting. ALL subjects discussed!” Trump said on Twitter.
Earlier Wednesday morning Trump quoted a Bloomberg report that China has begun preparing to restart imports of US energy and agricultural products.
“China officially echoed President Donald Trump’s optimism over bilateral trade talks. Chinese officials have begun preparing to restart imports of U.S. Soybeans & Liquified Natural Gas, the first sign confirming the claims of President Donald Trump and the White House that……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2018
The comments come after seemingly contradictory accounts from Chinese state media and the Trump administration prompted speculation that few concrete concessions had been made.
Adding to skepticism of the deal were reports that Trump has chosen trade hawk Robert Lighthizer to head negotiations with Beijing.
In his tweets on Wednesday, the US president also cited a pledge from his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to crack down on illicit exports of the powerful opioid fentanyl to the US. Cheap imports from China of the drug, which is significantly more potent than heroin, is considered a contributing factor in the ongoing drug epidemic in the United States.
“One of the very exciting things to come out of my meeting with President Xi of China is his promise to me to criminalize the sale of deadly Fentanyl coming into the United States. It will now be considered a ‘controlled substance.’ This could be a game changer…,” Trump wrote.