WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will meet Saturday in Argentina on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, a U.S. media outlet reported Monday.
The two leaders will meet a day after the United States, Mexico and Canada sign a new trilateral trade agreement, the online edition of Inside U.S. Trade said.
Trump and Xi are expected to discuss ways to defuse the trade war between the world’s two largest economies as well as the tit-for-tat tariff measures imposed by each country.
The Trump-Xi talks are unlikely to yield a resolution to the trade dispute, nor lead the United States to lift its tariffs on Chinese imports — though Trump will be watched closely for any signs that he is willing to make a deal or at least claim a win, Inside U.S. Trade said.
Separately, Trump said in an interview Monday with The Wall Street Journal that it is “highly unlikely” that he would accept Beijing’s request that Washington hold off on the planned increase in tariff levels on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 percent on Jan. 1 from the current 10 percent.
Trump told the paper that if negotiations do not work out, he would also add tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports, including iPhones and laptop computers, that are currently not subject to duties.
“If we don’t make a deal, then I’m going to put the $267 billion additional on,” at a tariff rate of either 10 percent or 25 percent, he was quoted as saying.
Chinese officials have said their priority at the upcoming Trump-Xi summit is to convince the United States to suspend the planned 15 percentage point increase in tariffs on $200 billion in imports from China.
But Washington is unlikely to accede, Trump was quoted as saying.
“The only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the United States,” he said.
Trump has demanded that China improve market access and intellectual property and technology protections for American companies, remove industrial subsidies and cut its massive and chronic trade surplus with the United States.
Speaking to reporters Monday at the White House, Trump urged China to treat the United States “fairly” on trade.
“China has to treat us fairly,” he said. “They haven’t been.”
Asked if he could strike a deal with Xi, Trump said, “It could happen. We have a good relationship.”
Aside from Trump and Xi, the two-day G20 summit starting Friday in Argentina’s capital will bring together Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders.