Chinese President Xi faces potential 'humiliation' in shaky G20 trade talks with Trump

Anthony Devlin – WPA Pool/Getty ImagesChinese President Xi Jinping.
  • The chances that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will strike a deal to resolve their escalating trade war are looking increasingly poor.
  • Trump said this week that he is “highly unlikely” to step back on a planned increase in tariffs on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25%.
  • He also said that he would introduce tariffs on additional goods if the countries do not reach a position that is favourable to the US.
  • The leaders will meet at the G20 Summit in Argentina this week in an attempt to broker a deal to end the trade war, though analysts are not optimistic.

Hopes that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will manage to strike a deal this week to avoid escalating trade conflict are pretty much dead in the water after Trump said he expects to move forward with tariffs ahead of the leaders’ planned meeting at the G20 summit this week.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said that it was “highly unlikely” that he would accept Beijing’s request not to move forward with increasing tariffs on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.

He also said that if negotiations between the two countries don’t produce a favourable outcome from the US he would introduce tariffs on additional goods.

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Trump and Xi are to attempt to broker an end of the trade war at the G-20 Summit in Argentina, which begins on Friday.

China will hope for a breakthrough, though analysts warn that this looks increasingly unlikely.

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A former top trade official on Capitol Hill told Axios in light of Trump’s statements: “My main takeaway is that maybe Wall Street needs to stop being so optimistic that Trump is going to negotiate away this China thing in the relatively near future. We are in for a long haul.”

Michael Every, head of financial markets research Asia-Pacific at Rabobank, characterised the likely result of G20 as “can-kicking at best” to CNBC. Xi “can’t deliver on anything the US wants and needs. Hence no deal,” he said.

Officials from both countries are working to follow up on a November 1 phone call between the two leaders, where they agreed to work towards a “mutually acceptable proposal,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters on Tuesday, as Bloomberg reported.

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He did not provide further details.

“We hope the US could work with us to implement and follow the spirit of the phone call of the state leaders and ensure positive outcomes of the meeting,” he said.

After repeated attempts by various US and Chinese officials, China watcher and Sinocism newsletter author Bill Bishop tweeted that the talks could in fact do serious damage.

“If I were Xi Jinping I’d consider cancelling the g20 meeting with trump. The odds of humiliation are not low,”Bishop tweeted.

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