Though little concrete has yet emerged about President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting in Mar-a-Lago last week, one thing was made clear: The U.S. wants “tangible” results from China on trade in fairly short order.
As has become customary, Trump said over two tweets on Twitter, “It was a great honor to have President Xi Jingping and Madame Peng Liyuan of China as our guests in the United States. Tremendous…goodwill and friendship was formed, but only time will tell on trade.”
Time, it seems, will have to tell within the next 100 days.
The U.S. and China reportedly agreed to a 100-day plan on trade, and within that time frame, China is expected to make progress on correcting some of the imbalances in its trade relationship with the U.S.
“We made very clear that our primary objectives are twofold. One is to reduce the trade deficit quite noticeably between the United States and China, and two, to increase total trade between the two,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview on Fox News.
The Thursday-Friday meeting between the two leaders went well, according to Ross, with each side bringing the appropriate level staff to address some of the issues on the table. But that the meeting went well was of little concern to Ross.
“Words are easy, discussions are easy, endless meetings are easy,” Ross told Fox. “What’s hard is tangible results. And if we don’t get some tangible results within the first 100 days, I think we’ll have to reexamine whether it’s worthwhile continuing them.”
Ross did not expand on what would happen should the U.S. decide it isn’t, in fact, worthwhile to continue these discussions on trade with China.
The White House had little tangible to say about the meeting except that it was “positive and productive” and that China must “take concrete steps to level the playing field for American workers” and that President Trump repeatedly stressed the need for reciprocal market access, according to press secretary Sean Spicer’s statement Friday.