US President Donald Trump says trade deal with China remains 'possible'

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Trump announced on Thursday that he received a "beautiful" letter from China's president that suggested that China and the United States "work together" to reach a deal over trade between the two nations.

The National Retail Federation said hundreds of thousands of businesses around the country will be burdened by the China tariffs.

Trump said he expected "a very strong day" at the negotiating table, but added "our alternative is an excellent one", an apparent reference to the tariff increase.

After markets closed Monday, senior Trump administration officials accused Beijing of "reneging" on commitments made earlier in trade talks and reaffirmed their plan to raise tariffs.

Wall Street fell more than 1 per cent on Thursday, as tensions heated up ahead of a make-or-break U.S. But the Commerce Department in another report on Thursday said wholesale inventories were weaker than initially thought in March.

"We hope the United States and the Chinese side can meet each other halfway and work hard together to resolve existing problems through cooperation and consultation", the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement.

Goods in the more than 5,700 affected product categories that left Chinese ports and airports before midnight will be subject to the original 10 per cent duty rate, a CBP spokesman said.

Brent oil futures settled slightly higher and U.S. crude pared losses after a revival of investor hopes the United States could reach a trade deal and avert a hit to global economic growth, which would crimp oil demand. The key sticking point in talks right now is that China can't see eye-to-eye with the USA on more structural issues, as highlighted here earlier in the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off by as much as 430 points through the morning session.

Markets in Europe and Asia also sank again. Unfortunately for the White House, his tactics so far have depressed trade with China but failed to halt Washington's growing trade deficit with the rest of the world.

More news: Gold gains as Donald Trump's tariff threat unnerves global markets

"There was a fundamental misunderstanding", he told AFP by email.

The dramatic nature of the talks grabbed headlines around the globe, guaranteeing that no matter what the outcome, media savvy President Donald Trump will have let Americans know he is taking a tough stance with China, fulfilling a campaign promise.

"The details will matter a lot", said Dean Pinkert, partner at the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed and a former member of the U.S. International Trade Commission. "China is not willing to make high-profile public changes".

He noted that "the two sides failed to realize that they have very different tolerance for transparency".

In fact, back in April, the Global Times, a hawkish newspaper published under People's Daily that focuses on worldwide issues, provided detailed explanations of "Why China Should Never Make Any Concessions in the China-U.S".

"They didn't realize when they pulled their concessions off the table that the administration would have the reaction that it did", he told AFP.

Kennedy warned that the "possibilities for miscalculation on both sides is pretty high". It's true that the tariffs go into USA government coffers, but the cost of the tariffs are either borne by US companies or passed on to US consumers. Customers so far have suspended orders. "We can't have that", he told reporters at the White House.

Washington has demanded far-reaching changes to the Chinese economy, such as subjecting state enterprises to market principles, reducing massive subsidies and ending the alleged theft of USA technology.

"What I'm doing now with China should've happened many years ago", said Trump.

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