President Trump isn't playing nice with China amid claims the country is considering backing away from previous discussions about "trade abuses," according to Sen. John Thune, R., S.D.
China's top trade negotiator and his delegates will engage in further discussions with President Trump and his administration on Thursday and Friday, a meeting that was made uncertain after Trump tweeted on Sunday that he planned to raise American tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
Senate Republican Whip John Thune told "America's Newsroom" host Bill Hemmer on Tuesday that it does appear that the Chinese representatives will still arrive on Thursday for further negotiations despite apprehension following the president's tweet.
"[Trump] indicated that China -- I talked to his trade team at that meeting -- that the Chinese were starting to get cold feet and move away a little bit from some of the things they agreed upon and he felt was necessary to take a stronger position relative to what we have so far," Thune said.
"The president realizes that to get this deal done, to get China to end some of the trade abuses that have been occurring, they've got to take a hard line. That's what he is doing and hopefully, it will have the desired effect," he continued.
Thune, who represents a large faction of agricultural workers in his home state of South Dakota, said that he is concerned that rising tensions between the U.S. and China could lead to a trade war. Beijing has previously accused President Trump of launching "the largest trade war in economic history," BBC reports.
However, it's necessary for the president to take a no-nonsense approach because China has been "stealing our intellectual property," forcing companies to transfer their technology and hindering our ability "to trade in a fair-handed-way," Thune said.
A deal would be the right move for both American and Chinese economies, Thune continued, and would avoid the possibility of a trade war harming both sides.
"A trade war would not help anybody, and it certainly wouldn't help the farmers I represent in places like South Dakota. But I do think this kind of leverage is what the president needs to get a good deal," he said.
The economic strength of the United States has been proven by the numbers in recent months, as the first quarter GDP in 2019 grew by 3.2 percent. More than 200,000 jobs were added in April, making the unemployment rate the lowest its been in nearly 60 years.
Thune argued that this illustrates the nation is in a position of strength entering negotiations with China, who know that our resources and goods are necessary for their economy to flourish.
"We have a really strong economy that could get even stronger if we get a good deal with China," Thume said. "The president recognizes that this is the time to take advantage of that strong growth in our economy to get a deal with China which desperately needs access to that growing economy in the United States."
Ultimately, his hope is that the position of both Chinese delegates and President Trump's administration will result in the ideal outcome: "China back at the table willing to make concessions and do away with some of the trade abuses they've been employing for years," he said.