The US stock market dipped for the fourth day at closing in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on China and as negotiators had another round of trade negotiations in Washington.
The tariffs officially kicked in at 12:01 a.m. Friday, but the U.S. said talks will continue in the morning.
“This evening, Ambassador [Robert] Lightizer and [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin met with President Trump to discuss the ongoing trade negotiations with China,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said late Thursday. “The Ambassador and Secretary then had a working dinner with Vice Premier Liu He, and agreed to continue discussions tomorrow morning at USTR.”
China’s Ministry of Commerce followed, two minutes after midnight Eastern time, with a statement, saying, “China deeply regrets that it will have to take necessary countermeasures.”
Trump’s top trade negotiators, Lighthizer and Mnuchin, met with their Chinese counterparts for a meeting and working dinner that kicked off at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Initially, a 100-person team from China was expected to travel to the nation’s capital on Wednesday, but the Chinese were shaken by Trump’s tweets and the talks were delayed by a day.
Administration officials were cautious about characterizing the meetings as the high stakes negotiations are still underway, but they are expected to meet again on Friday morning to continue discussions.
The meeting comes on the heels of the president unexpectedly announcing plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods — ranging from textiles to chemicals — from 10% to 25%.
China’s Commerce Ministry said Wednesday that Beijing will retaliate if the U.S. actually imposes the tariffs.
“The escalation of trade friction is not in the interests of the people of the two countries and the people of the world,” the ministry said. “The Chinese side deeply regrets that if the US tariff measures are implemented, China will have to take necessary countermeasures.”
At a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, the president accused the Chinese of “cheating our workers and stealing their jobs.”
He added, “So they are flying in the vice premier tomorrow is flying in, good man. But they broke the deal, they can’t do that.”
On Thursday, the president told reporters that the United States and China were once “very close to a deal,” and then the Chinese began to “re-negotiate.”
Despite the renewed trade war, the president said he has been in touch with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Well, he just wrote me a beautiful letter. I just received it,” Trump said. “And I’ll probably speak to him by phone.”