Trump Reportedly Seeks to Mend Personal Ties With Xi Amid Growing Trade Tensions

The developments come amid the ongoing trade row between Washington and Beijing, which broke out in July when US President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on a sweeping range of Chinese imports in order to narrow the $350 billion-plus trade deficit.
With the Washington-Beijing trade war at the “beginning of the beginning”, Trump’s team “doesn’t expect much” from the planned meeting between the US President and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, due to be held on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires next month,  the US news website Axios cited sources as saying.

The sources pointed out that the main goal of the upcoming meeting is “for Trump and Xi to reconnect, eyeball each other, and feel each other out amid their escalating trade war.”

“It’s a heads of state meeting, not a trade meeting. Trump is thinking about this meeting as a personal reconnection with President Xi, not a meeting that’s going to evolve into detailed discussions. The sides are very far apart. […] Right now, there’s not a common basis for proceeding,” one of the sources said.

Another source claimed that Trump “wants them [China] to suffer more” from hefty US tariffs on Chinese goods, and that the US President sticks to the view that “the longer his tariffs last, the more leverage he’ll have.”

All this indicates that “the trade war between the US and China is just getting started,” the source concluded.

The remarks came after Trump’s fresh tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and services took effect September 24.

Washington has warned that it could slap similar tariffs on another $267 billion in Chinese goods and services in the future, in what economists warned may prompt China to introduce a stimulus package to try to offset the US restrictions.

Since March, the Trump administration has introduced several waves of tariffs worth tens of billions of dollars against Chinese goods in an effort to rebuild the US industrial base. 

China has retaliated with its own tariffs against US goods while continuing to maintain that there can be no winners in a trade war. In 2017, the US recorded a $375.2 billion trade deficit with China with total trade estimated to be worth some $710.4 billion in the same year.