"We're in suspended animation here," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street," adding investors are finding it difficult to commit capital to stocks such as industrials without knowing the conclusion of the Trump administration talks with China later this week.
Cramer added on Tuesday, "I think people are starting to fear the president gets lucky and gets China," meaning if the U.S. and China don't end up in a trade war sellers of the market might get caught on the wrong side of the trade.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Fox Business on Monday he is "cautiously optimistic" about an upcoming meeting with officials from the world's second-largest economy, adding the Trump administration is looking to have a frank conversation on trade.
Wall Street opened lower Tuesday, with losses accelerating in early trading, despite the White House announcing Trump postponed the deadline on steel and aluminum tariffs for some allies, including the European Union, for 30 days to allow further discussions.
However, pushing back the deadline did not include China on steel and aluminum tariffs. Meanwhile, the separate tech tariffs that the U.S. threatened against China hang over the talks that Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will attend. Ross told CNBC on Tuesday he's hopeful talks in China will be fruitful.
In a tweet early Tuesday, Cramer said, "It is disconcerting that you can't read a positive article" about the business climate.
Cramer said Wall Street is going to need much more than "a fast-food chain" to move the market higher, referring to Dow component McDonald's reporting better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Monday, sending its shares soaring.