President Trump made clear yesterday that his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago next week isn’t going to be a love fest, and that trade will top the agenda. In a pair of tweets Thursday evening (140 characters won’t suffice for this complicated relationship) the president said: “The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses. American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives.”
The president also plans to sign an executive order today calling for a country-by-country and product-by-product review of the U.S. trade deficit—which will ramp up the focus on the Chinese trade imbalance.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang was conciliatory in his response, saying “China will continue to work with the United States to think creatively and keep pushing for greater balance in China-U.S. trade.” Some China watchers expect Xi to arrive bearing promises of job-creating investments in the U.S.
Not clear where this one is heading. But fresh off his health care failure, the President isn’t likely to abandon tough talk on Chinese trade quickly.