Executive Intelligence Review


U.S.-China Talks Conclude, but Trump Says He and Xi Will Decide Resolution Next Month

Jan. 31, 2019 (EIRNS)—China’s Vice Premier Liu He and Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen met with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the conclusion of talks trade talks today between the two countries’ delegations. In comments to the press, President Trump said,

“Now we’re going to have a great trade deal ... if it all works out.... I think we made tremendous progress. It doesn’t mean you have a deal, but I can say there is a tremendous relationship and warm feeling and we’ve made tremendous progress.”

The Chinese delegation read a letter to President Trump from President Xi Jinping. In the letter, Xi said: “I hope our two sides will continue to work with mutual respect,” and

“that both countries will meet each other halfway in order to reach an early agreement that works in the best interest of both sides.... Such an agreement will send a positive message to our two peoples and to the broader international community.... I hope we’ll keep close contact in various ways.”

“That’s a beautiful letter,” President Trump commented, and saying that the U.S.-China relationship “has never been so advanced.” The U.S. President also said that the issues would be further discussed in his meeting with President Xi next month. “When President Xi and I meet next month, we want to have certain points that we can discuss.” He said, however, that the March 1 deadline for increasing tariffs would remain in place, which is when the 10% tariffs levied on Chinese goods would be raised to 25%.

Yesterday’s meeting dealt specifically with trade issues and it is likely that China had a long list of increased purchases they would be willing to make. President Trump expressed particular pleasure with China’s proposed purchase of U.S. soybeans. “That’s going to make our farmers happy,” he said, said, “that’s a lot of soybeans.” This morning’s meeting dealt with the more sensitive “structural reforms” demanded by the U.S. side. While China is fast-tracking new investment regulations through the National People’s Congress next month, it is not clear if these will be enough to satisfy the U.S. side. The “maximum” program mooted by the U.S. Trade Representative would be unacceptable to China, as it would mean an extensive dismantling of its industrial policy. But the issues will now be the subject of a Xi-Trump summit. At the same time, the negotiators will continue discussions through February of the various issues involved in preparation for that summit.