Oval Office

3:36 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, thank you very much.  We’ve had a lot of very big news and some very good news today.  But I’d like to hold this for China.  There’s nothing bigger than what we’re doing with China.  I think it’s important that these are the questions that are asked.  And, as you know, we have the Vice Premier of China, one of the most respected men in all of China, and the world, for that matter.  And we have great respect for him, a great friendship with him.

And we’ve come to a very substantial phase one deal, and I’ll go through some of the points, and then I’ll ask the Vice Premier to say a few words and any comments that he may have.

We have come to a deal, pretty much, subject to getting it written.  It’ll take probably three weeks, four weeks, or five weeks.  As you know, we’re going to be in Chile together for a big summit.  And maybe it’ll be then, or maybe it’ll be sometime around then.

But we’ve come to a deal on intellectual property, financial services.  A tremendous deal for the farmers.  A purchase of — from 40 to 50 billion dollars’ worth of agricultural products.  To show you how big that is, that would be two and a half, three times what China had purchased at its highest point thus far.  So, they were purchasing $16 or $17 billion at the highest point, and that’ll be brought up to $40 billion to $50 billion.  So I’d suggest the farmers have to go and immediately buy more land and get bigger tractors.  They’ll be available at John Deere and a lot of other great distributors.

But we’re taking the purchase of agricultural products from $40 to $50 billion, meaning in that neighborhood — from 40 to 50, approximately, billion.  And what they’ve been doing now, I believe, is about $8 billion, right?  Eight — right now it’s eight.

The other thing I will say is, over the last two weeks, a lot of purchases have started going back to our farmers.  And you’ve been doing a lot of business with us, which we appreciate very much.  But it really started a few weeks ago, but they intend to go up, ultimately, once the agreement is signed, from $40 to $50 billion.  And, really, from — that was from a base of probably $16 billion, and right now it’s $8 billion.  And the $8 billion was lower than $8 billion.  They got up to $8 billion because they’ve been purchasing quite a bit over the last couple of weeks.

So, we also have the agricultural structural issues.  We have some incredible progress on the structure and structural issues.  And, Bob, perhaps you could discuss that, please, on agriculture, and explain the importance of the structural issues that we’ve solved.

AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER:  Well, I would say probably at least as important as the purchases is the fact that we’ve corrected a variety of SPS — what we call sanitary and phytosanitary issues.  And we’ve corrected biotechnology issues.  And it will be — it will be much easier now for American farmers to be able to ship to China.  And we’ve made some corrections on our side to — that will help them on the Chinese side.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And that’s been completed and pretty much done.

AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER:  That’s correct.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Another big issue that we’ve come to conclusion on is currency, foreign exchange.  And, Steve, do you want to explain that, please?

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, we’ve had very good discussions with Governor Yi, head of the People’s Bank of China — their central bank.  We’ve also had extensive discussions on financial services, opening up their markets to our financial services firms.  So that we have pretty much almost a complete agreement on both those issues.  And as you know, Mr. President, currency has been a very big concern of yours since the campaign.  And we have an agreement around transparency into the foreign exchange markets and free markets.  So we’re very pleased with that.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We’ve also made very good progress on technology transfer, and we’ll put some of technology transfer in phase one.  Phase two will start negotiations almost immediately after we’ve concluded phase one and papered it.  And I think phase one should happen pretty quickly.

So you have intellectual property.  We have an agreement on intellectual property.  Financial services — the banks and all of the financial services companies will be very, very happy with what we’ve been able to get.  And I think China is going to be very happy because they’ll be served very well by these great institutions being able to go into China.  And it’s going to be a tremendous thing for banks and for financial service companies.

Agricultural structural issues — tremendous for the farmers.  As Steve said, that’s almost as good as — which I disagree with him on that, but it’s almost as good as going from $8 billion and then to $16 billion, which was their all-time high, to $40 to $50 billion.  So we’re going to be up to 40 to 50 billion dollars of agricultural purchases, which means the farmers are going to have to work a lot of overtime to produce that much.  That’s the largest order in the history of agriculture, by far, by two and a half times.

And technology transfer — we’ll have some technology transfer in the agreement, but technology transfer will largely be done here and also in phase two.  So we’re going to start negotiating phase two after phase one is completed and signed.  And then there may be a phase three or we may get it done in phase two.  So you’ll either have two phases or three phases.

So we’re very happy with it.  We have great respect for China, great respect for President Xi.  And I want to just tell you that I watched the 70th anniversary in great detail, and it was an incredible event.  And congratulations on the 70th, everyone.  That was really something very amazing to watch.

Mr. Lighthizer has done a terrific job.  All of my team, I think, has done a fantastic job.  The Vice Premier, I want to just thank you very much for being here with your team.  You’re very tough negotiators.  Congratulations.

But it’s something that we both realized right from the beginning is very important — not only for China and not only for the U.S., but for the world.  And every time there’s a little bad news, the market would go down incredibly.  Every time there was a little bit of good news, the market would go up incredibly.  And yet, other news that was also very big, the market just didn’t really care.  They just seemed to care about the deal with USA and China, and that’s okay with me.

So we’ve had a tremendous, really, negotiation, a very complex negotiation, but something that’s going to be great for both countries.

And, Mr. Vice Premier, would you like to say something?

VICE PREMIER LIU:  (As interpreted.)  First, on behalf of the Chinese government, we would like to extend our thanks to President Trump for your congratulatory message to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

We very much agree that to get the China-U.S. economic relationship right, it’s something that is good for China, for the United States, and for the whole world, and we are making a lot of progress towards a positive direction.

Over the recent days, I have had very good communication with both Ambassador Lighthizer and Secretary Mnuchin.  And, Mr. President, as you just mentioned, we have made substantial progress in many fields.  We are happy about it.  We’ll continue to make efforts.

And thank you for this opportunity for me to speak up.  And all my colleagues are happy about it.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, thank you very much.  And it’s a great honor.  I think that the currency, foreign-exchange agreement that we made will be a tremendous — of tremendous benefit, both in terms of the magnitude of it and in terms of the simplicity of what we’re able to do.  It’ll make a very complicated process much simpler.  I think that, in itself, I just see as something that we both have been working for.

Yes, please.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  (Inaudible) read later to you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, thank you very much.  Could I see that?  That would be very nice.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Well, of course.  Of course.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  That would be very nice.  That’s very nice.

(The Vice Premier presents President Trump with a document.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  (Inaudible.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yes.  Oh.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  (Inaudible.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yes.  That’s — this is for guys like Jon that can’t — that aren’t good with Chinese.

They’ll have that magnified so fast your head will spin.

Well, it’s a tremendous message, and thank you very much.  And I’ve read this, and I appreciate it very much.  This is from President Xi.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Yes.  (Inaudible.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And we knew that we were going to have a very successful phase one.  And it took us a long time to get here, but it’s something that’s going to be great for China and great for the USA, and we appreciate it very much.  And please congratulate President Xi.  Thank you very much.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Thank you.  Thank you.

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Mr. President, I just want to clarify on the tariffs —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Please.

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  So, I was just going to clarify, the Vice Premier has requested, and the President has approved, while we go through a process of documenting this, we will not be implementing the increase of tariffs that were scheduled to go in place from 25 to 30 percent.

Q    The ones that were supposed to go into place on Tuesday of next week, is that right?

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  That’s correct.  That’s correct.  Those will be confirmed while we —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Including the other ones.

Q    Mr. President, are we not closer to a complete end of this trade war?  (Inaudible.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yeah, I think we’re very close.  I think this is a very important phase.  A lot of things are — our agriculture will be completed because, when we bring it up to $50 billion — I project is going to be the number — I don’t know if there’s a question as to whether or not our farmers can produce that much.  And I think they can, but they’re literally — and I said it jokingly, and I think I mean it — they’re going to have to buy more land, which is okay.  It would be a good time to own land in Iowa, Nebraska, and a lot of other great states.  So, they’re very happy about it.

But we’re taking it from $8 billion, which it is now — and it was about $2 or $3 billion; they got down pretty low.  But if you take — the highest it ever was was $16 billion, and we’re bringing that to $50 billion.  So we’re going from 16 to 50 — so anywhere between 40 and 50.  And that’ll start very soon.  And they’ve actually already started purchasing.  You’ve actually started purchasing a lot —

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Yes, yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  — from the farmers.  We just got messages from the Midwest.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  We have already, what?

PARTICIPANT:  Twenty million.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Twenty million tons.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  You have 20 billion?

INTERPRETER:  Twenty million.  Twenty million tons of soybeans.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Oh, 20 million tons.

PARTICIPANT:  Of soybeans.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Already.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yeah, a tremendous amount of soybeans.  And that was over the last couple of weeks.  We got word of that.  You know, we got word.  We notice it; it goes quickly — because we see a price go up a little bit, right?  It’s incredible the way the market works.  But, yes —

VICE PREMIER LIU:  About 398 dollars.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  That’s right.  That’s right.

Q    How will this deal be enforced, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We’re working on enforcement right now, and that’s been largely agreed to, and that’s one of the things in this agreement.  We have an enforcement provision.  And they’re working out the final aspects of that enforcement position, and I think that’s something — Bob, do you want to say something about that?

AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER:  Sure.  So, we’re going to have a very elaborate consultation process.  We have an escalation in various areas so that difficulties can be resolved.  Both parties have allocated — or have assigned various people; have created a structure under it.  And we’re down to the final details of what will happen if there’s not a resolution.  And that’s, kind of, the final issue that we’re putting together.

But both sides agree it absolutely has to have it, a workable dispute settlement mechanism.  And we’re very close to that.

Q    Mr. President, how do you see the U.S.-China relations right now?  Do you see — what kind — what areas U.S. and China can still work together?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, I think they’re great.  I think the relationship, in certain ways, may be better than it’s ever been.  We’ve been through a very tough negotiation.  There’s never been a negotiation like this.  In all fairness, I give China tremendous credit because, for 25 or 30 years, they’ve done very well with the U.S., and now we’re doing something jointly.  We’re doing it in a fair manner.

I give China credit for what they’ve done over the last 30 years.  Tremendous credit.  I don’t blame China; I blame the people representing our country.  Now we have a deal that I think ultimately is going to be just fantastic for China and fantastic for the United States.

Q    Mr. President, can you clarify: Is this an actual deal or is this progress towards a deal?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  No, it’s subject to getting everything papered.  You have to do it — we’ve agreed in principle to just about everything I mentioned, all of the different points.  And now we’re getting it papered, and I don’t think it should be a problem getting it papered.  I think that China wants it badly, and so we want it also.  And we should be able to get that done over the next four weeks.  We’re going to be in Chile in five weeks, so we’ll see, in terms of signing, when it happens.  We’ll do a formal signing with President Xi and myself.

But this is just something that’s very exciting.  And I’m very excited, actually.  We cover a lot more territory than agriculture, but I’m very excited for the farmer because this is — there’s never been a deal of this magnitude for the American farmer.

Q    On Huawei?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Bob, do you want to talk about the Huawei?

Q    Is Huawei in the deal, Ambassador Lighthizer?

Q    Or Secretary Ross?

AMBASSSADOR LIGHTHIZER:  I’m sorry, the question is —

Q    Huawei.

AMBASSSADOR LIGHTHIZER:  In this agreement, we’re not dealing specifically with Huawei.  It’s not part of this agreement.  That’s a separate process.

Q    Mr. President, have you or your advisors raised the business dealings of Hunter Biden with Chinese officials in the last week?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we’re going to discuss where’s Hunter.  Where is Hunter, by the way?  Whatever happened to him?  We’re going to discuss where’s Hunter when I get out because I’ll stop at the helicopter.  But, right now, in respect to China and to the Vice Premier, we’re going to only ask questions about today.

Jon.

Q    Mr. President, on that point, can you assure that American people that you did not bring up Joe Biden in these negotiations; that you have not brought up that with the Chinese?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I have not brought up Joe Biden.  China can do whatever they want with respect to the Bidens.  China can do whatever they want with respect to $1.5 billion going to somebody.  That’s up to China.  But we do have to look into corruption.  But, no, it has not been brought up.

Q    Mr. President, how do you assure the American people that this deal, over the next three, four, five weeks, won’t fall apart as it’s being papered?  And then, secondly, that phase two can —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, anything can happen.  That can happen.  I don’t think it will.  I think we know each other very well.  We’ve been negotiating this for a long time.  There’s a possibility, of course, that maybe there’s something that they’re unable to get papered.  But I’ve been doing this for a long time.  And the Vice Premier has been doing it for a long time, in many other deals for many, many years —  both of us.

And his people are very profess- — great professionals, and so am I.  And I think the likelihood of it falling apart is not so good.

What do you think, Steve?  What would you say?

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  I think we have a fundamental understanding on the key issues.  We’ve gone through a significant amount of paper, but there is more work to do.  And we will not sign an agreement unless we get and can tell the President that this is on paper.  And I know the Vice Premier needs to go back and do some work with his team, but we’ve — we’ve made a lot of progress over the last two days.

THE PRESIDENT:  And most of this is also known by the people in China, by President Xi.  He’s been following it very closely, and (inaudible).

Q    Your teams have been working together for over a year and a half now.  Can you comment on the progress — I mean the performances of the teams, of both sides?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think — are you from China?

Q    Yes.  China (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT:  I think the people of China have to be very proud of your team.  They are unrelenting.  I say that in a positive way.  But they’re unrelenting.  They’re tough.  They’re smart.  And they have negotiated a great deal.

But I think the people of China should be very proud of this team, starting with the Vice Premier.  He’s a very extraordinary man, and we’ve gotten to know each other well.  And everybody on my team respects your team.  So, I think they’ve really handled themselves incredibly well.

Q    Mr. President, (inaudible) tariffs, sir — are the December tariffs also suspended as this process goes on?

THE PRESIDENT:  So the tariffs on the increase from 25 percent to 30 percent, that will be suspended.  We’ll be paying 25, but we’re not increasing it to 30.  And then you might want to mention the additional tariff.

AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER:  The addition — the additional tariffs are scheduled to go into effect, as many of you know, the second half of the September.  That is scheduled into effect on December the 15th.  And the President has not made a final decision on that, but there’s plenty of time to make that decision.  And that is certainly a part of this process that the Chinese are working their way through.

So, the first one has been suspended.  The second one is subject to the President making a final decision.  But, the way this timing works out, that will be well in advance of that date.
Q    Mr. President, when can students who are (inaudible) in this country —

THE PRESIDENT:  Say it?

Q    — that have difficul- — I mean, many Chinese students have difficulty in this country with their visas.

THE PRESIDENT:  Students?

Q    Yes.  Chinese students in this country.

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, no, no, no, no.

Q    Can you clarify to us —

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re going to be very good to Chinese students.  Nope.  I’ve heard this question many times before, including from our own security people.  We want all the people that want to come over from China.  We have the greatest university system in the world, and we’re going to keep it that way.   And one of the reasons it’s great is we have a lot of students from China.

No, we’re not going to make it tough.  We’re going to make it like for everybody else.  Okay?  We’re going to make it — I think that’s important.

I think, Steve, I think it’s very important, Bob, our universities are available.  The world comes in.  They use our universities.  We have the greatest system in the world.  And China is not going to be treated any differently.

I think it’s important for you to say that, too, to the people of China.  Our system is open.  People get in based on merit.  We have incredible talent coming in from China.  They occupy a big space in our universities, and we want to keep it that way.  Okay?

Because there was a false — there was false rumors going on that we were going to close the schools to China.  That is so false.  It’s just false.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Some Chinese (inaudible) already exchanged our opinion.

THE PRESIDENT:  You’ve already exchanged.  Yes.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  With (inaudible).

Q    Mr. President, any chance of —

THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, one second.

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Mr. President, I think you’ve been very clear in your directive all along, through the trade negotiations, on your view on the universities.  And we will follow up.

Q    Are you going to do anything to reassure the students?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  I can give them my word.  I want them coming here.  We want the greatest talent in the world coming to our great universities — to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, the great Wharton School of Finance — (laughter) — to Stanford, all of these great schools.  We want them — we want them coming here.  And that’s what we have.  And that’s one of the reasons we have the great system.

And there have been discussing about that — not by me, because I ended them very quickly.  I want to let you know, I end those discussions very quickly.

Q    (Inaudible) rescinding the currency manipulation designation?

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  We’ll be making a decision on that and evaluating it.  Although I would comment that, assuming we close the agreement and we have the assurances, that will be a big step in the right direction for our evaluation.

Q    What about Chinese business?  Do you still welcome Chinese business to invest in the U.S.?

THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely we do.   We do.  We’re doing a lot of business with Chinese companies.  We do have to be — you know, security companies and certain companies — we have to be careful with and we have to pay very close attention.  But we’re doing tremendous business with China and with Chinese businesses.
It’s tailed off.  We’ve tailed it off.  We’ve purposefully tailed it off.  But that’ll start building up very quickly again.  We expect that to build up to a much bigger extent, I think, than even before.

Q    When you’ve talked about a big trade deal with China, is this what you’ve envisioned?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, this is phase one, and it’s a big part of it.  The farmers, the intellectual property — a lot of — a lot of areas are covered here that, frankly, are in great shape — intellectual property.  Financial services is going to be a massive boon to the banks and credit card companies and all of these companies, including ownership interests.

You know, before you had to do certain things that made it very difficult for banks and institutions to really go into China.  China has really been opened up now, for the first time, to financial services and to the big banks and credit card companies and other types of financial services.  So that’s a tremendous thing.  And I think we have complete agreement on that.

Intellectual property — a lot of agreement.  But we’ll have some of that included in phase two.

Agriculture should be done.  I don’t think the farmers can handle any more than what they’re getting.  Don’t forget: We just signed a big deal with Japan.  And that was a very big deal.  And a lot of that had to do with agriculture also.  So the farmers are doing well.

In currency, foreign exchange — we’re all set on that.  That we’ve been able to do.  And not only through simplification, but the importance of it — it’s very important.

And technology transfer — so we’re going to have some technology transfer here, and some will be in phase two.  We think we’ll probably be able to conclude it with phase two, but it may be phase two, phase three.  Okay?

Q    Mr. President, how did you come around to the idea of doing a phase one?  You’ve been saying, as recently as earlier this week, that you wanted one big deal.  What changed your mind?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Because it’s such a big deal and it covers so much territory that doing it in sections and phases is, I think, really better.  And we’re talking about very big — don’t forget, we’ve covered, fully, agriculture — even in terms of agricultural structural issues, and then in terms of $50 billion of agriculture.

So that will be covered in its entirety.  Currency foreign exchange will be covered in entirety.  Financial services, I think, will be covered pretty much in its entirety.  So the banks and lending institutions — all institutions — are covered.

Some of technology transfer, a large part of intellectual property will be covered.  So I think it actually works out to be a very neat package.  And now we can focus on phase two.

Q    Mr. President, how much time are you going to allow to go by as this goes through?  So you said it might take four or five or six weeks to put it in paper.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Whatever it is.

Q    At what point would you raise tariffs again if you don’t have a deal that you can actually sign?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we’ll see.  Only — only good faith and faith.  And I think we have a lot of good faith right now going on.  I think we have —

Q    So no new tariffs in the foreseeable future?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  What we’re doing is we’re going to start, Jon, right away, in getting this papered.  Right now it’s — it’s already partially papered.  Much of this has been pretty much completed, from the standpoint of paper.  But we think it’ll take four weeks, five weeks — something like that.  Now, we happen to be together in Chile.  So that could be a point, or maybe not.  President Xi will be there and I’ll be there for the big summit.

Q    Mr. President, the last time the Vice Premier was in the Oval Office, in April, you said a deal, at that point, was about four weeks away.  I would love to hear from both of you why this time is different?  What’s changed in the relationship?
PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I think we got to know each other a lot better.  Don’t forget, there’s been a lot of back-and-forth since that happened.  We thought we had a deal, and perhaps they didn’t, but it didn’t work out that way.  This deal is a bigger deal than the last deal, relatively speaking.  Now, we’re talking about big parts of it, with financial services and agriculture.

But when we talk about $50 billion in agriculture, we never had that in mind in the first deal.  We were thinking about $20 [billion].  We were thinking about anywhere from $16 [billion], I would say, to $20 billion.  Now we’re talking about $50 billion.

So this is actually a much bigger deal.  It’s a big chunk of it, but it’s a much bigger deal than we had in mind — certainly, in terms of — I would say, Steve — financial services is bigger and more complete.  Intellectual property will be in both phases of the deal.  Currency foreign exchange — we didn’t really discuss that very much in the last deal; now we’re including it in this deal because a lot of things have happened during the course of the last year (inaudible).  So —

Q    I thought that was agreed in the spring.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I think this is actually, when you add it up, going to be a more important deal — a bigger deal.  And more precise.

Q    So the (inaudible) on currency had been agreed last spring as well, before talks broke down, right?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, now we have currency — the currency foreign exchange is included.  The foreign exchange aspect of it is much more complete now than it would have been under the other system.  And don’t forget, a lot of things have happened with currency and foreign exchange that we weren’t talking about a year ago.  Things have happened.

Q    On the summit —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yes.  From China.

Q    You mentioned about the summit.  When and where would you like it to be?  And also —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we’re going to find that out.  That’ll be up to the Vice Premier and to President Xi.  So we’ll find that out.

Q    Okay.  On the global economic slowdown, do you think this kind of win-win will help the global economy?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, the United States has been doing very well.  China, I think, will — I think this will be a tremendously positive — this is going to be a tremendous thing for China.  We’ve been doing well and I think we’ll do better.  I mean, we’ve been doing really well.  We’ve been leading the world in many aspects of what we’re talking about.  I think we’ll do even better.  And I think China will do tremendously well with this deal.  This is a great deal for China.  It’s a great deal for us.

Q    This $40 [billion] to $50 billion — is that an annual figure?  Will it rise to that figure?  Is that over two or three years?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Do you want to define that, please?

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  It will scale up to an annual figure.  Yes.

Q    To an annual figure of $40 [billion] to $50 billion?

SECRETART MNUCHIN:  Yes.

Q    Can you say over how long, Mr. Secretary?

SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Within the second year.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Over the — over the — less than two years.

Q    Mr. President, did Hong Kong and the Uyghurs come up at all?  That’s a big issue in other parts of — on Capitol Hill, for example.  Or is that separate to trade to you?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We discussed Hong Kong.  And I think great progress has been made by China in Hong Kong.  And I’ve been watching.  And I actually told the Vice Premier it really has toned down a lot from the initial days of a number of months ago, when I saw a lot of people.  And I see far fewer now.

We were discussing it, and I think that’s going to take care of itself.  I actually think this deal is a great deal for the people of Hong Kong to see what happened.  I think this is a very positive thing for Hong Kong.

But — but it really has — it’s — the escalation, it really has deescalated a lot from the beginning, and we were discussing that.

Q    Would you put a stop on the blacklist of Chinese companies, which seems to be expanding these days?
PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we’ll be looking at the blacklist, and we’ll be making a determination as to which companies would be on that list.

Q    Mr. President, if this deal goes forward — helps the economy, economic growth, et cetera — do you still think that the Federal Reserve needs to cut rates?  And if so, by how much?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yeah, I do.  I do.  I think the Federal Reserve should cut rates regardless of this deal because we’re higher than other nations.  Germany is loaning money, and when it has to be paid back, they get paid, okay?  It’s ridiculous.

And I think that the Federal Reserve should cut rates regardless of how good this is.  We have a great economy, but we have a Federal Reserve that’s not in step with the rest of the world.  So I think they ought to get in step.  And if they were in step, we’d — we would — regardless of the China deal — the China deal is much more important than the interest rates, but —

Because this has to do with more than trade; this has to do with world peace.  This has to do with getting along.  This has to do with the rest of the world.  This isn’t just a deal on trade.  This has to do with a lot of friction, a lot of bad things that are happening in the world.

So, this is far more important than the Federal Reserve and interest rates.  But the Federal Reserve should cut interests rates.  Absolutely.

Q    Did you tell them anything about the impeachment process and how that might affect your ability to complete this deal?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it’s helped me, because yesterday we had the biggest crowd.  We broke a stadium record.  We broke the record in Minnesota.  Nobody has ever seen anything like that.  And you saw it, and you understand it, too.  And my poll numbers are going way up.  And so, the impeachment, it’s a hoax.

No, we didn’t discuss it, but I would tell him it’s a hoax.  It’s a hoax done by people that are losing.  And they want to try and use it to try and win an election, and I don’t think it’s going to happen.  And I don’t think China believes it’s going to happen, because if they did, they’d rather deal with a Sleepy Joe Biden, who is failing badly.  He’s not going to make it anyway.  But whoever does emerge on the other side, they’d probably be better off maybe waiting.

But they also know that when I win, the deal gets even tougher.  It gets even tougher.  And they expect that I’m going to win, otherwise they wouldn’t sign the deal.  It’s very simple.

Next.

Q    Mr. President, you’ve made clear that you like putting tariffs out.

THE PRESIDENT:  I do like tariffs.

Q    How are you — what’s your inclination then, about December?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think then we’re going to have a deal that’s a great deal, that’s beyond tariffs.  This is a deal that’s a very important deal for China, a very important deal for the world, a very important deal for the United States.  I think this is a deal that is beyond tariffs.

I really mean that.  I think that world peace — you know, there was a lot of friction between the United States and China.  And now, it’s a lovefest.  That’s a good thing.  But that’s good for China and it’s good for us, but it’s good for the world.

The Vice Premier said the same thing.  And he said it better than anybody could have said it.  He said, “This is a great thing for the world.”  He didn’t say “China” or “us”; he said this is a great thing “for the world.”  And he’s absolutely right.

Perhaps you’d like to comment on that.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Yes, I fully agree with you.  It’s good for China.  It’s good for U.S.  But it’s good — also good for the whole world.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  The whole world is watching.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Yes.  Whole world is watching.

THE PRESIDENT:  And it is amazing, and I say —

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Not only (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

VICE PREMIER LIU:  Not only a treaty.  It provides peace and prosperity and development for the whole world.  I think it’s very important.

THE PRESIDENT:  He said, “peace and prosperity… for the whole world.”

So, it’s beyond the trade deal.  It really is.  And, you know, talk was getting tough, rhetoric was getting tough.  We have ships and they have ships, and we have planes and they have planes.  And, you know, bad things could happen.  Stupid things could happen.  But this is a great — a great thing that’s taken place.  We have a very good bond and relationship.

And I have very little doubt that we’ll be able to get this thing finalized now.  It’s not overly complex.  And then they’ll start phase two.  But this was a very important deal for a lot of reasons.

Thank you very much.  I hear a helicopter.  I hear a helicopter.

I’m going down to Louisiana.  We have a totally sold-out crowd in Louisiana.  And hopefully the governor of Louisiana, who is not doing a very go- — you know, he’s not doing a very good job in Louisiana.  Hopefully, he won’t get the 50 percent, we’ll have a runoff, and you have a nice, new Republican governor of Louisiana.

And I hope a lot of you are going to join us.  You’re joining us, Jon?  You’re going to be joining us to Louisiana?

Q    I’ll be watching, sir.  I’ll be watching.

THE PRESIDENT:  Did you watch last night?

Q    Yes, yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  Did you enjoy it?

Q    You know, it’s my job to watch.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  A lot of people enjoyed it, Jon.  Have a good time everybody.

Q    Would you take Huawei off the blacklist, sir?  Would you take Huawei off the blacklist, possibly?

THE PRESIDENT:  I — I — we’ll talk about that later.

END                 4:11 P.M. EDT