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Remarks on China-United States Trade Relations and an Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One While En Route to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

December 01, 2018

The President. It's an incredible deal. It goes down, certainly—if it happens, it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made. It's a deal between the United States and China made by the President and the President. And it'll have an incredibly positive impact on farming, meaning agriculture, industrial products, computers—every type of product.

And what I'd be doing is holding back on tariffs. China will be opening up. China will be getting rid of tariffs. You know, China right now has major trade barriers—they're major tariffs—and also major nontariff barriers, which are brutal. China will be getting rid of many of them. And China will be buying massive amounts of product from us, including agricultural from our farmers—tremendous amount of agricultural and other products.

So it's been really something. You may also want to say that the President has agreed that if the Qualcomm deal that they rejected—which was one of the larger deals of its kind, which China rejected—if that deal came back to him, he would most likely approve it quickly, which is a big thing.

And North Korea, which we didn't get into, we've agreed that we will work very strongly on North Korea. I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. And we will—and don't forget, we've been doing that for what, 6, 7 months? Not a long time. People have been working on that one for 80 years, right? From the beginning. And 20 years with the nuclear—you know, if you just take the nuclear. But he is agreeing to work with me 100 percent on North Korea, and that's a big thing too.

So you add the fentanyl along with—because what he will be doing to fentanyl could be a game changer for the United States and what fentanyl is doing to our country in terms of killing people. Because he's agreed to put it at the highest level of crime in his country. Therefore, if they get caught, they have the highest level of punishment. That could be a game changer. That's a big—to me, that's a very big thing.

North Korea

Q. What about a summit with Kim Jong Un? You talked about North Korea. When will the summit with Kim be? And did you talk about that with him?

The President. We're going to do one fairly—you know, into January, February, I think. We're getting along very well. We have a good relationship.

Q. Do you think you'll have him come to the U.S.?

The President. At some point, yes.

Q. Where will January or February be?

The President. Who?

Q. You said January or February. Where do you see——

The President. We have actually talked about three sites. We haven't determined the sites. Q. Regionally, can you tell us about that? [Inaudible]—Asia?

The President. Within plane distance. This is—this plane——

Air Force One/Death of Former President George H.W. Bush

Q. His plane or——

The President. This sucker flies—by the way, what we're doing with this plane is, Peter [Peter Alexander, NBC News]——

Come on up here. So, what we're doing—he was at the meeting, and you thought it was pretty good?

Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin. Fabulous. Very impressive.

The President. So what we're doing with the plane—we land, and then they come in, and these are great people that run these aircraft. They are unbelievable. And they're taking apart—I don't think this section. The section up front, they're taking all of the seats out. They're putting—and we're taking—we're sending the plane—this plane to Houston. And it picks up the casket, President Bush, which is good.

North American Free Trade Agreement/United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Q. Is there any chance we can get the NAFTA termination stuff on the record?

The President. Ready? I will be formally terminating NAFTA shortly. Just so you understand, when I do that, if for any reason we're unable to make the deal, that's—[inaudible]—because Congress, then Congress will have a choice of approving the USMCA, which is a phenomenal deal. Much, much better than NAFTA. A great deal.

[At this point, the President spoke off the record, and no transcript was provided. He then continued his on-the-record remarks as follows.]

So we'll be terminating NAFTA in the not-too-distant future. We are delaying it.

[The President spoke off the record, and no transcript was provided. His on-the-record exchange with reporters then continued as follows.]

North American Free Trade Agreement/United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement/Federal Government Funding Extension

Q. Can we say this is a 6-month termination?

The President. Say that it's a 6-month term, and I'll be terminating it within a relatively short period of time. We get rid of NAFTA. It's been a disaster for the United States. It's caused us tremendous amounts of unemployment and loss and company loss and everything else. That'll be terminated.

And so Congress will have a choice of the USMCA or pre-NAFTA, which worked very well. You got out; you negotiate your deals. It worked very well. Okay?

Thank you.

[A reporter asked a question referencing an off-the-record remark by the President. The President responded as follows.]

The President. Well, let's leave that. But we—if they come to me, which they already have, and they said, "You know, Mr. President"——

Q. Who is "they"?

The President. "They." People that are in Congress. The folks. The folks that you know better than I even know them, okay.

No, if they come—which they have—to talk about an extension because of President Bush's passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it.

Thank you, everybody.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:23 p.m. In his remarks, he referred to President Xi Jinping of China; and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission Kim Jong Un of North Korea. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 2. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks on China-United States Trade Relations and an Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One While En Route to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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