FUKUOKA, Japan – President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to meet at a Group of 20 summit late this month, the U.S. treasury secretary said, offering a prospective break in trade hostilities that are weighing on global growth.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking to reporters Saturday, said that the two presidents will meet while attending the June 28-29 summit of leaders of major economies in Japan, though he declined to provide other details.
China’s government didn’t respond to requests to confirm plans for a Trump-Xi meeting. If it materializes, the face-to-face meeting would offer a chance to put negotiations back on track after talks hit an impasse a month ago and both sides have since then increased punitive tariffs and taken other actions that raised tensions and complicate a resolution.
Mr. Mnuchin’s remarks show how tentative any rapprochement is. In Fukuoka, Japan, for a weekend gathering of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers, Mr. Mnuchin played down a scheduled chat with People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang. It would be the first high-level meeting since the negotiations stumbled.
Mr. Mnuchin said of his talk with Mr. Yi: “This is not a negotiating meeting.” He also said that, as of Saturday, there were no plans for cabinet-level officials to travel to Beijing or Washington to prepare for the two presidents’ summit. And he urged Beijing to return to the terms under discussion a month ago or face further tariffs.
“If China wants to come back to the table and negotiate on the basis that we were negotiating, we can get a great historic deal,” he said. “If they don’t, we’ll proceed with our tariffs.”
“If China wants to come back to the table and negotiate on the basis that we were negotiating, we can get a great historic deal. If they don’t, we’ll proceed with our tariffs.”
Negotiations fell apart last month amid U.S. accusations that China backtracked on terms already agreed upon. China denies it did so. Since then, apart from increasing punitive tariffs, the U.S. has restricted Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co.’s access to American technology on national-security concerns, and President Trump has ordered plans be drawn up to impose tariffs of up to 25% on the rest of the $300 billion in imports of Chinese goods not yet hit with levies.