If there was one bright spot that came out of the latest round of trade talks held between the US and China, it was news that US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping might sit down and chat this November.
So much for that. The potential meeting, which was planned to take place when both leaders traveled to attend Asia-Pacific regional summits, now has about a zero percent chance of taking place, as Trump has nixed his trip to Asia.
The White House announced the cancelation late on Friday, saying that Vice-President Pence will travel in the president’s stead.
Trump hinted that the meeting was not a sure thing recently, saying “we’ll see,” when asked by reporters to confirm the meeting.
It was not apparent how the two leaders would find common ground on trade issues. While the Trump administration expresses confidence that China’s economy is weak, and thus Beijing will quickly acquiesce to demands, most economists see little evidence to support this view.
Chinese officials, business executives and state media, meanwhile, have consistently expressed a hope that the US will come to the table and negotiate in good faith.
At the same time, those voices have given no indication that China is not confident in its economy’s ability to withstand the impact of tariffs or that it will consider abandoning its industrial policies, as the Trump administration is asking Beijing to do.