"I say it, we should have been doing that to them", he said at the NRCC dinner.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States and China were close to a trade deal that could be announced within four weeks, while warning Beijing that it would be hard to allow trade to continue without a pact.
Mr. Trump said he may still close the border if no other steps work, but his focus on tariffs as a more immediate option was striking.
These would be added to the already imposed tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese goods, and China duties on $110bn of United States products. The latest round of United States tariffs on $267 billion-worth of goods from China, scheduled for March 1, was postponed to allow for the talks, however.
While the president sounded an optimistic tone about the chances for a deal to be reached, his top trade negotiators were far more cautious in their remarks during the meeting Thursday. This was actually done to bring a change in the way China carried out business with the other countries of the world and to make more of Chinese economy open to the U.S. firms.
"Some of the toughest things have been agreed to", Trump said. In retaliation, China has targeted $110 billion in American imports.
When asked what is coming in the way of the deal, he said "It is enforcement".
Analysts say any agreement is likely to include banner announcements that China has agreed to increase purchases of American commodities like soybeans and fuel.
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The U.S. has "already gotten concessions that probably go beyond what China has been willing to do in the past", said Erin Ennis, senior vice president at the U.S.
A spokeswoman from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, who is leading the Washington team in the discussions, did not respond immediately to request for confirmation or comment. The two sides had appeared to make some progress on the issue in January, when China approved a handful of GMO crops for import.
Negotiations so far have focused mainly on what China will do to reduce its goods trade surplus with the US, which reached a record $419.2 billion previous year.
"There is indeed a lot of progress being made and indications there could be a summit meeting in the near future", said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A person familiar with the text said China so far agreed only to consider avoiding retaliation if the US took action against Beijing, but stopped short of a formal pledge to refrain from counter-punching.
Various reports citing people familiar with the negotiations indicate the potential agreement would give China until 2025 to deliver on its pledges to buy more goods from the US.
Trump has slapped tariffs on $250bn in Chinese products. After Mr Xi's team initially floated a formal state visit to Washington as an option, China has pushed back against a meeting on U.S. soil and wants to instead meet in a neutral third country, the people briefed on the plans said.
"We've had almost two decades of broken promises from China".