Before leaving for the G20 summit, President Trump told reporters."I think China wants to make a deal, I'm open to making a deal. But frankly, I like the deal we have right now."
President Trump is meeting Chinese president Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina to talk about the ongoing trade war between their two countries. There's expectations the two sides could reach some sort of deal; but as with everything else in this process, it's uncertain what, if anything, will come from this meeting.
Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy was the U.S. Ambassador to China under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He's now Director-Emeritus of the Kissinger Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He told Newsy, "I think the Trump administration has very effectively confused the picture on that. The president does not like to tip his hand in advance, and his standard negotiating technique is to use threats and negative implications about what he may do right before he cuts a deal."
The two leaders are reportedly unlikely to solve the trade dispute entirely, but they could strike a deal to hold off on any further escalation and give trade negotiators a chance to make some more progress.
When it comes to China, the Trump White House has been divided between trade hawks who want to keep the pressure on until China folds entirely, and other officials eager to end the economic pain of the trade war's tariffs. That's made it tough for negotiators to lay out a consistent position.
A recent Wall Street Journal report about the trade talks notes China was initially hopeful that Trump's business background would make him eager to cut a deal. Roy says China may have misread how much pent-up resentment their trade practices had fostered in the U.S.
He said, "This is not an all faults being on one side or the other, but the failure by China to address their trade practices has been a very major constituent factor in bringing us to this particular state of a trade war looming between the two countries."
Trump has shown a preference for direct, top-down negotiations with world leaders on big issues. The White House might be counting on Trump's personal touch to push trade talks forward.
White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters, "Things have been moving very slowly between the two countries, until the President himself called President Xi and said, 'Let's restart. Let's try to get things going again.' And then, since then, he's made positive comments about that. So we will see."
This video includes reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.