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Trump doubts China trade negotiations will succeed

CNBC logo CNBC 5/17/2018 Jacob Pramuk

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he doubts high-stakes trade negotiations with China will succeed.

"Will that be successful? I tend to doubt it," the president said during an appearance with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. "The reason I doubt it is because China has become very spoiled. The European Union has become very spoiled. Other countries have become very spoiled, because they always got 100 percent of whatever they wanted from the United States."

"But we can't allow that to happen anymore," Trump added.

A Chinese delegation is currently in Washington taking part in talks with top Trump administration officials. The meetings follow a separate round of negotiations in Beijing earlier in the month.

The U.S. and China hope to bring down escalating tensions that threaten to start a trade war and damage the world's two largest economies. U.S. stock markets dipped after Trump's comments, as observers hope trade talks will avoid major tariffs proposed by both countries.

On Thursday, the president contended China "ripped off" the U.S. with its trade practices. He claimed Beijing's trade practices sparked "an evacuation of wealth like nobody has ever seen before."

The president has long argued that China's massive trade surplus with the U.S. constitutes a trade abuse. He has also sought to punish Beijing for alleged intellectual property theft by Chinese companies.

Tensions between Peter Navarro, Trump's trade advisor and a China hawk, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have complicated this week's talks. Navarro has sought a tough response to China, which has led him to bump heads with colleagues in the Trump administration.


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