Listen: Trump prepares for 'productive' talks with Xi on trade war
"President trump is at the g. twenty summit in soccer japan this week and on saturday he'll have a crucial meeting with china's president xi jinping those trying to negotiate a truce on trade after this trade war that stretched on for about a year with me now is clear williams in april he stepped down as deputy director at the national economic council there he was the lead trade negotiator for the u._s. at summits including the g twenty he's now a partner at the law firm aitken gump thanks for coming in thank you all right so let's get people up to speed this week treasury secretary steven mnuchin said the u._s. was quote ninety percent of the way there on reaching a deal with china we have certainly heard that before you were the guy who did these deals is this meeting at the twenty actually likely to close a deal i don't think it's going to close a deal i think the most likely outcome that you're gonna have is that the leaders are gonna agree to restart talks to try to get back to where they were in may before things broke down and probably for some indefinite period of time to agree to refrain from further escalation but i do want to stress that is far from a done deal and it's really going to depend on how these leaders interact with each other in the meeting that they've got tomorrow okay that's really interesting because president trump has said if deal can't be reached he's going to put more tariffs on your saying what might happen is he just holds off on that i think if the meeting goes well that he's going to be willing to hold off however if the meeting goes poorly i think he's made clear that he would be willing to further escalate this and ten percent tariff is what he signaled and is the threat of tariffs likely to be weighing on president she's mind as they go into this meeting he thinking yeah absolutely i think that the u._s. has done here is they've tried to create leverage with china the problems that president trump is raising with president xi for technology transfer i._p. theft these are things that the u._s. has been concerned about for a long time and the problem had been that we had had negotiated these issues with china and then china didn't follow through and so president trump's view is that we need to define a way to have additional leverage over china and he's done it with these tariffs now i think what you're seeing is that president xi is under a lot of pressure china's economy isn't doing as well as it has been in past years the tariffs have contributed to that and so that is going to be weighing on his mind and i think that creates an incentive for china to try to find a way to get out of the situation despite china's economic worries and they are real the wall street journal reporting that china's gonna come to this meeting with a specific set of preconditions for a deal they want an end to this policy implemented by the trump administration which bans american companies from selling technology to the chinese firm way do you think this administration is likely to negotiate on hallway well i mentioned before that i think what is going to be determinative here in terms of whether we restart negotiations or whether we have an escalation is going to be how those conditions are presented how the leaders interact with each other i think if president she comes into the meeting and says absolutely unequivocally the u._s. needs to drop tariffs it needs to fix walkway and it needs to do all these other things i think that's going to be a bad situation if on the other hand president she says these are my priorities can you help me out here can you show me some flexibility i think you could have a productive meeting and then with with wow way in particular that is a tricky issue and the administration has been clear that why is national security threat and that action needs to be taken to prevent while away from being part of the u._s. network now whether or not there's flexibility in terms of doing business with the company at all that may be a different question i think you you theoretically at least can distinguish saying they can't be part of our networks from they can't build cellphones in china and we're not going to give them any components for their cell phones those are different things in my mind the journal also reports that the chinese will likely ask the u._s. to drop the tariffs it's implemented so far that liquid happen not in the short term what the united states has said and they've been clear is that china in the past hasn't followed through on commitments it made we need some sort of tool to check their implementation and that's what the tariffs are going to be used for so an immediate term dropping the tariffs i don't see that maybe if after some period of time china does follow through our commitments that's where we'll go this meeting comes at a time when more and more american businesses are talking a against the existing tariffs on china they're saying these are really hurting us and especially including about the proposal to to impose even more this week n._p._r. talk to a florida businessman named mark morgan he runs a company that makes smartphone accessories and he was telling us that the trade war with china has forced him to actually lay off workers meet me play that we're down to six employees now we were at eleven and then just could not support the payroll in the overhead expenses i mean there is really a lot at stake here and i wonder can the president of ford politically economically to hit china with tariffs again right well i'll be the first to acknowledge that there is an impact of tariffs on the u._s. economy but what the president is doing here is he's trying to create a long term situation where the unfair practices that china's engaging in that hurt those very same businesses and workers aren't going to aren't allowed to go on anymore and really the question is are we in a position economically to be able to sustain the short term pain in order to have long term gain of a more fair trading situation"