Trade talks look bleak for China with Navarro as guest at Xi-Trump G20 meeting

Before flying to Argentina, Trump indicated satisfaction with current tariffs imposed on China, saying he is willing to make a deal, but not sure he wants to

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(By AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires approaches, there is widespread speculation on whether or not U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping will be able to cut a deal that might ease trade tensions between the two powerful countries.

Reports on Nov. 29 out of Washington that China-hawk Peter Navarro will be present during the meeting, and Trump’s own statements before boarding the plane to Argentina, suggest that an amicable outcome from the meeting between the two leaders may be increasingly unlikely.

In typical Trump style, the U.S. President said that while he is ready and “open to making a deal,” he expects that China is the party most eager for a new trade arrangement.

With an attitude suggesting the stronger hand in negotiations, Trump stated that with “billions and billions of dollars coming into the United States in the form of tariffs” already imposed on Chinese imports, that he was quite happy with the current trade arrangement.

Making matters look even more bleak for Chairman Xi and the Chinese delegation is the report that White House advisor and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Peter Navarro, will be present for the state-level dinner and negotiations between Trump and Xi.

In a recent address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Navarro offered extremely harsh criticisms of Beijing’s trade and manufacturing policies, declared that there is simply no basis for trust in negotiations with Beijing.

Navarro called the Chinese government a “serial violator” of WTO regulations and emphasized that in light of China’s IP theft and attempts to undermine U.S. business at home and abroad, that Beijing represents a critical threat to the economic and national security of the U.S.


Donald Trump and Peter Navarro (Associated Press Image)

A CNBC contributor on global trade says that “Peter at dinner is not a good sign” for any speedy resolution to the U.S.-China trade war, and is more likely an indication that the conflict is set to intensify, rather than deescalate.

Xi Jinping himself has reportedly accepted the Trade War as a “fact of life” and is not expecting a quick resolution, reports CNBC.

In addition to the 10 percent tariffs already targeting US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports, the Trump administration is poised to increase the tariff rate from 10 percent to 25 percent on Jan. 1 if “China fails to address U.S. demands.”

The administration has also signaled its readiness to expand tariffs to cover the entire remaining portion of Chinese imports to the U.S., or an additional US$265 billion worth of goods.

After world leaders convene the morning of Friday Nov. 30 in Argentina, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet for dinner and trade talks on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council issued a statement that they do not expect that XI will be able to offer up any proposals to satisfy the American delegation. The council says the ongoing trade war is likely to continue.

Some pundits suggest that because Xi Jinping is under immense pressure to bring back results that the leaders may intimate at some kind of progress, but that such an outcome may just amount to a public relations stunt for the benefit of Xi Jinping’s reputation, while trade talks and tensions will likely persist.