Trump, backed by Morrison, talks tough on China
WASHINGTON, Sept 21: President Donald Trump said on Friday that only a "complete" deal with China on trade will be acceptable and his tough approach won support from visiting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
"I'm not looking for a partial deal. I'm looking for a complete deal," Trump told reporters during a joint news conference with Morrison at the White House.
Trump denied that he was under pressure to resolve the massive trade dispute between the world's two main economic powers, saying "I don't think I need it before the election" in 2020.
Morrison, enjoying an unusually lavish reception and state dinner, said he backed the US push to force China to reform on issues that include routine violation of foreign companies' intellectual property.
"We need to make sure that we all compete on the same playing field," he said. China can't have "special rules."
Morrison's supportive stance contrasted with worries he expressed in June about smaller economies suffering collateral damage in the US-China standoff and the global system coming "under real pressure."
Later the United States Trade Representative's office issued a statement announcing that deputy-level US and Chinese negotiators had completed "productive" talks in Washington on Thursday and Friday.
Top level talks are expected in October.
This was only the second state-level visit to the White House granted under Trump and the first for an Australian premier here since John Howard in 2006.
In a shift from tradition, and taking advantage of perfect end-of-summer weather, the dinner was served under the stars in the Rose Garden. -AFP