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Trump team returning from China, won’t back down from trade-war threat, president says

President Trump said Friday that he is not backing down from demands for fair trade with China, as top administration officials returned from the first round of trade talks in Beijing.

President Trump said Friday that he is not backing down from demands for fair trade with China, as top administration officials returned from the first round of trade talks in Beijing.

The two-day talks in Beijing did not produce major announcements, and the Trump administration is still threatening to impose tariffs on $150 billion worth of Chinese goods. But further rounds of negotiations were expected.

“My people are coming right now from China, and we will be doing something one way or another with respect to what is happening in China,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House.

He he said that he had been “nice” in the negotiations out of respect for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has helped the U.S. apply pressure to bring North Korea to talks on giving up its nuclear weapons.

“I have great respect for President Xi. That’s why we are being so nice, as we have a great relationship,” said Mr. Trump. “But we have to bring fairness into trade between the U.S. and China, and we will do it.”

Beijing has said that it is open to improving access to U.S. business but also threaten to retaliate against U.S. tariffs, including targeting industries with big business in China such as agriculture and airplanes.

The trade delegation was led by Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad.

The White House talks as “frank discussions” about rebalancing trade.

A chief aim of the Trump administration is to break down barriers to U.S. business in China and reduce America’s $375 billion annual trade deficit with China.

“The United States delegation affirmed that fair trade will lead to faster growth for the Chinese, United States, and world economies,” the White House said in a statement.

The size and high level of the delegation illustrated the importance that the Trump Administration places on securing fair trade and investment terms for American businesses and workers, said the statement.

“There is consensus within the Administration that immediate attention is needed to bring changes to United States–China trade and investment relationship,” it said.

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