President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are in Mar-a-Lago this week for a two-day meeting, and top in the talks has been cooperation on trade.
It was the first meeting between the two after much back and forth rhetoric about imposing tariffs, retaliation and trade wars, but so far, reports are calling the meeting cordial, and Xi is rooting for cooperation with the U.S. to maintain what is a very vital trade relationship.
Ahead of the meeting, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said during a press conference Wednesday, “The meeting is of great significance in charting the course for the development of China-US relations in the new era, pushing for the sound and steady growth of the bilateral relationship from a new starting point and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.”
Though no concrete deals are expected to come out of Trump and Xi’s meeting, China, at least, seems ready to get past the rhetoric and settle on some amiable path forward for trade.
“We have a thousand reasons to get China-U.S. relations right, and not one reason to spoil the China-U.S. relationship,” Xi told Trump, according to Reuters.
Trump, on the other hand, may feel like there’s still a long way to go when it comes to settling on trade relations.
“We’ve had a long discussion already, and so far I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing. But we have developed a friendship—I can see that—and I think long-term we are going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it,” Reuters reported Trump as saying.
Xi invited Trump to visit China, and the U.S. president is expected to take him up on the offer later this year.
Deeper discussions on trade and foreign policy are expected for the Friday portion of the leaders’ meeting, which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are all in Florida for. However, officials close to the matter aren’t expecting great compromise on the U.S. side.
“I don’t expect a grand bargain on trade,” an unnamed U.S. official told Reuters. “I think what you are going to see is that the president makes very clear to Xi and publicly what we expect on trade.”