President Trump will likely hold talks with China's Vice President, Wang Qishan, at the World Economic Forum later this month, according to the China Morning Post, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Wang will likely lead China's team to the annual forum in Davos, Switzerland, while the talks with Trump would take place on the sidelines. It's also possible that one or more of Trump's top trade lieutenants will meet with the Chinese VP if the US president himself does not.
The talks, on the sidelines of the Davos forum in Switzerland, which runs from January 22 to 25, would be the second high-level meeting between China and the United States in two months as they continue to seek to reduce trade tensions.
China’s President Xi Jinping and Trump agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war on December 1 when they met at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, the US has threatened to increase its tariffs on Chinese imports on March 1 if Beijing does not meet its demands to resolve issues such as cyber intrusion and intellectual property theft. -SCMP
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House adviser Jared Kushner will be among the US delegation in attendance at the meeting. In December, Mnuchin told Bloomberg News that the US was "confirming the logistics of several meetings," which could take place with China during the forum.
The Davos talks would come on the heels of a meeting due to start on Monday in Beijing between US and Chinese officials - the first formal engagement between the two sides since Trump and CHinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a 90-day truce after the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will lead the delegation that will meet with Chinese counterparts starting Monday.
The negotiations will address issues including intellectual property, agriculture and industrial purchases, two people familiar with the preparations said. Preliminary discussions have been “a little more optimistic than usual,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Bloomberg TV on Friday.
A week ago, Trump reported “big progress” in trade talks with his Chinese counterpart, providing an optimistic start to what could be a make-or-break year for ties between the world’s two largest economies.
China says it’s ready to buy more American goods. But it’s resisting U.S. demands for tougher action on technology transfers, and less state support for strategic industries like robotics and computer chips. -Bloomberg
"I think we will make a deal with China. I really think they want to. I think they sort of have to," said Trump on Friday, adding "China’s not doing well now. And it puts us in a very strong position. We are doing very well."
"I hope we’re going to make a deal with China. And if we don’t, they’re paying us tens of billions of dollars worth of tariffs – not the worst thing in the world."
This week's talks led by Jeffrey Gerrish will be crucial in setting the stage for the Davos discussions, according to Tao Wenzhao - an international relations expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"The conclusions that come out of next week’s trade talks are expected to be confirmed by Wang and Trump in Davos at the end of January, and they will also explore new problems together," said Wenzhao. "It is a process of gradually narrowing the discrepancies and building consensus before the end of February."