Possible Trump-Xi meeting raises trade war thaw hopes
EIJING (AP) — With China and the United States opening the door to a meeting next month between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, hopes are rising for a potential easing of tensions in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
Worries about the increased tariffs the two sides have imposed on each other’s goods contributed to a dizzying bout of volatility in financial markets this week.
The higher tariffs raise costs for companies in both countries, and economists say that if they remain in place indefinitely, they could depress economic growth.
A Xi-Trump meeting, if it happens, would take place during a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 biggest global economies in Argentina in late November.
“I don’t think any decision has been made in regards to a meeting,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Saturday in Bali, Indonesia, where he’s attending global finance meetings.
Still, Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, said in Washington on Friday that preparations for the talks were under way.
“It looks like there will be a meeting in Buenos Aires at the G-20,” Kudlow said in an interview with CNBC.
“We are looking at it. The Chinese are looking at it. Preparations are being made. I can’t say 100 percent certainty, but there is no question everybody is looking at it.”
Kudlow said that so far, the administration viewed China’s negotiating offers as “rather unsatisfactory” but that “maybe talks between the two heads of state will bear fruit.”
Asked if China would need to make specific concessions for such a meeting to take place, Mnuchin said, “To the extent that we can make progress toward a meeting I would encourage that and that’s something we’re having discussions about, but for the moment there’s no preconditions. The president will decide on that.”