Chinese people find Trump 'perplexing and exhausting' on trade war, says state-run TV host

Key Points
  • The Chinese people try to tune out President Trump's day-to-day comments on the U.S.-China trade war, state TV anchor Liu Xin says.
  • "We actually want to see what he does," Liu says.
  • China doesn't want further escalation, Liu says, but adds Beijing will continue to protect its interests.
CGTN Host: China wants a deal, but won't stand down against new tariffs

The Chinese people think President Donald Trump's comments on the trade war between the world's two largest economies are "perplexing and exhausting," a state-run television anchor said Tuesday.

"After a couple of years of President Trump's term, I think the Chinese people have found a way to understand him," China Global Television Network anchor Liu Xin told CNBC's Seema Mody in a "Squawk on the Street" interview. "We're not going to follow what he says every day because that is going to be very perplexing and exhausting actually, to a certain degree."

Instead, Liu said, the Chinese people are focused on Trump's policies toward China. "We actually want to see what he does."

Liu hosts an English-language program on CGTN, the international arm of Communist Party-controlled China Central Television. CGTN America has a newsroom in Washington and broadcasts to 30 million households across the country, according to The New York Times. CGTN is widely considered an unofficial mouthpiece of the Chinese government.

Her remarks came two days after Trump's newest batch of tariffs on Chinese goods went into effect Sunday. The 15% levies on apparel, footwear, consumer electronics and toys represent the latest escalation in the U.S.-China trade dispute. Additional duties on products, such as smartphones and laptops, are set to go into place Dec. 15. Together, those two rounds would cover about $300 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Trump is also threatening to increase the tariff rate on Oct. 1 to 30% on roughly $250 billion of goods that are already subject to 25% duties.

Shortly before Liu's appearance on CNBC, Trump tweeted that the U.S. is doing "very well" in its negotiations with China.


Liu, however, said Trump's latest tariffs are hurting the likelihood of in-person trade talks later this month. "The United States will need to create the conditions that are conducive for the resumption of negotiations."

"Trump's decision to put additional tariffs ... is not in the right direction for talks to resume very soon," she added. She insisted that China wants an end to the trade war and doesn't want the situation to get worse. But she said the Chinese government will continue to protect its interests.

In retaliation, the Chinese government pushed ahead Sunday with increased duties of 5% to 10% on a variety of major American goods exported to China, including soybeans and crude oil.

However, those tariffs account for only about a third of the more than 5,000 product lines listed in Beijing's latest announcement. The majority of China duties against U.S. goods take effect Dec. 15, along with reinstatement of tariffs on U.S. autos and auto parts.

Watch CNBC's full interview with CGTN host Liu Xin