With U.S. markets tanking and the trade battle with China intensifying, the White House decided to move ahead with plans for President Donald Trump to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a multilateral summit in November to see if the two leaders can find a way out of the mess, according to officials in both nations.
The White House has in recent days informed Beijing that it would proceed with the summit meeting, an encounter China has been hoping could provide an opportunity for both sides to ease the escalating trade tensions. The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Buenos Aires at the end of November.
Pushing for the meeting on the U.S. side are Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow. The two men, who have worried about market reaction to the trade fight, have been trying to get negotiations on track for months, with little success. During this time, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports, about half of what China sends to the U.S.
The NEC and Treasury take lead roles in the planning for the G-20 meeting, rather than administration hard-liners on China, most prominently U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Trump has sided with Lighthizer on tariffs, even when that has torpedoed talks with the Chinese. Carrying through on imposing more tariffs, as Trump has threatened to do, could derail the summit plans as well.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
Also popular on WSJ.com:
Big lenders make push to liquidate Sears.
Your rock-solid case for flying business class for work.
Want news about Asia delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Asia Daily newsletter. Sign up here.