WASHINGTON — The outlook for a near-term trade deal between the White House and China darkened on Friday, as President Donald Trump called China a “threat to the world” and dismissed the idea of an interim agreement the same day Chinese officials canceled a planned visits with farmers in Montana and Nebraska.
The combined news spooked investors, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average quickly lost 100 points, or around 0.4%.
Negotiations are set to continue, but the twin events on Friday suggested there is not an urgency on either side to complete an agreement.
At a press conference, Trump told reporters he was not under any pressure to complete a trade deal with China before the 2020 election.
His comments appeared to defy the growing political and economic pressure for him to resolve the trade war soon.
“We’re looking for a complete deal,” Trump said. “I’m not looking for a partial deal. We’re looking for the big deal. We’ve taken it to this level.”
Trump has complained that he nearly had a trade deal with China several months ago, but Chinese officials have disputed this, saying key issues have not been resolved.
His comments on Friday came just hours after the White House said it would temporarily spare more than 400 Chinese products from tariffs.
The 437 products were a wide assortment of goods among those swept into the trade war last year when the White House slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods.
Last week, China said it was canceling planned tariff increases on American soybeans and pork. Days before, China had eased tariffs on 16 U.S. products, including alfalfa and lubricant oils. Trump responded by delaying a planned tariff increase on $250 billion of Chinese goods until Oct. 15 to avoid conflicts with Beijing’s plans to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Chinese revolution.