Trump makes 'important points' about how China must change, billionaire money manager says

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The economic relationship between the United States and China needs to change, Tony Ressler, a billionaire veteran of Wall Street, said Friday.

“The Trump administration is making some very important points about how we do business with China,” said Ressler, co-founder of private equity giants Apollo Global Management and Ares Management.

President Donald Trump, through tough talk and tariffs, has been trying to get China to stop what the White House considers unfair trade and business practices.

“We’re seeing some blunt objects help that readjustment,” Ressler said in a CNBC interview as rhetoric from Trump and Chinese leaders and costly reciprocal trade tariffs show no signs of easing.

However, Ressler said, “I’m not as worried as others. Because I think over time, reason will prevail.”

Beijing threatened on Friday to unveil an unprecedented list of foreign firms, groups, and individuals that it believes harm the interests of Chinese companies.

Earlier this month, Washington increased tariffs to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods, accusing Beijing of reneging on its previous promises to make structural changes to its economic practices.

That prompted Beijing to hit back with additional levies on the majority of U.S. imports worth $60 billion, due to take effect on Saturday.

“My experience with the Chinese is that they are sophisticated. They understand what’s best for China,” Ressler told “Squawk Box” co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin in an interview from a business conference in Atlanta.

Ressler, also principal owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, urged Trump and Chinese leaders to “lower the amount of noise” and focus more on substance. “Then you’ll see real progress,” he said.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

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