President Donald Trump’s team is floating the idea of hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago next month to hold a summit to try and end the U.S.-China trade war.
Administration officials told Axios that Trump’s home in West Palm Beach is ‘likely’ location for the world leaders to meet, possibly as soon as mid-March.
Other locations, however, are in the mix, including Beijing.
President Donald Trump’s team is floating the idea of hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago next month
The two leaders previously met at Mar-a-Lago in April 2017
Trump has threatened to escalate the trade war between the two countries by raising the 10 percent tariffs he’s placed on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent if a deal isn’t reached by March 1.
U.S. and Chinese negotiations are meeting in Beijing this week for a round of talks.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are representing the United States in the third round of negotiations.
‘Right now the intent is that we meet this March 1st deadline,’ Mnuchin told reporters last week. ‘If there are remaining issues that we can’t get closed I think President Trump expects that he’s gonna sit down with President Xi and address those issues and we’ll figure out if needs to do that.’
President Trump has said he won’t meet with Xi again before the March 1 deadline but as fears among investors rise that there won’t be a deal, aides have suggested the president could extend negotiations if progress is being made.
There was some speculation Trump could meet with Xi when he travels to Asia at the end of February for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un but that looks unlikely.
The president has used Mar-a-Lago as a diplomatic meeting ground before and he hosted Xi there in 2017, although his breach in protocol was said to frustrate the Chinese.
When Xi visited Mar-a-Lago in April 2017, Trump upended weeks of international negotiations by asking for an immediate one-on-one meeting with the Chinese president.
First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump pose with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan upon their arrival to the Mar-a-Lago estate in April 2016
Trump’s Florida estate Mar-a-Lago
‘Got a minute?’ he reportedly asked Xi and took him for a walk across the grounds, much to the frustration of the Chinese delegation, who were unhappy with change in the carefully choreographed plans.
Trump also hosted Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan there in February of 2017. The two leaders fit in a round of golf after their talks.
The president told reporters last week, when he met with China’s top negotiator in the Oval Office at the close of two days of talks, that ‘tremendous progress’ has been made on a number of tough issues.
And the president signaled he was cautiously optimistic about being able to strike a deal with China.
Trump and Xi agreed to a 90-day truce in the trade war at their December meeting at the G20 in Argentina and negotiators have been in talks since that time.
If Trump does implement his threatened increase on Chinese goods, Beijing could retaliate on American goods and that could result in the president going through with his threat to add tariffs on at least an additional $267 billion of Chinese products.
Thus far most Americans haven’t felt the effects of the trade war as staples such as food and clothes have not been affected. But that could change if both sides escalate.
Trump and Xi could meet in mid-March as both countries try to end a trade war
Trump and Xi held an expanded bilateral meeting at the Mar-a-Lago estate last April
The U.S.-China trade hostilities increased after Trump entered the White House, weakening both economies, shaking financial markets and clouding the outlook for global trade.
Analysts have held out little hope the two countries can reach a comprehensive deal over the next month.
At the heart of the conflict is the U.S. demand that Beijing stop taking predatory actions – from intellectual theft to the forced handover of technology by U.S. companies – in a drive to become a global power in such fields as robotics and electric cars. The Trump administration also complains that Beijing unfairly subsidizes its own tech companies.
China has denied that it deploys any such tactics.