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Fr. Canada
Topic: Donald Trump Meets Xi Jinping Today in Florida
Sharing the following Forbes article by Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes Magazine Contributor


I cover business and investing in emerging markets. These are my personal opinions.

President Donald Trump meets his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping Thursday and Friday. What could possibly go wrong?

Other than Mexico, China has been the preferred punching bag of Donald Trump. He blames them for unfair trade on one hand, while recognizing their importance to the world economy. He blames them for manipulating their currency, even though the Treasury Department has said more than once that is not the case.

On Thursday, he meets his counterpart Xi Jinping. Let's face it, China is this country's most important economic asset. Please, Mr. President, please don't screw this one up. That's the market talking right there.

Close China watcher, Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia, thinks we are in for a near-miss.

"This week’s meeting between Trump and Xi isn’t likely to go well, but the risks are to sentiment rather than to China’s economic or corporate performance," Rothman says. The two sides are far apart on trade and on North Korea. There is also the issue of China marking its territory in the South China Sea. "I don't think it will be a disaster," Rothman says, adding that Trump will be restrained by Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, and Xi himself also wants to avoid confrontation.

“The communication between China and Kushner has so far been running smoothly,” Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University told the South China Morning Post on Tuesday. “Kushner has been a core member of Trump’s team. His attitude towards China is more pragmatic,” Wu says.

This week’s meeting will be an important occasion for Beijing to get to know the Trump administration, and gauge just how anti-China they really are.

“China will need to pay attention to which side has more influence over Trump and how Trump views US relations with China,” Wu told the SCMP today.

Trump has not formed his China and Asian policy team yet, but Kushner is involved in communications between Washington and Beijing, and helped set up the first informal meeting between Trump and Xi at the Mar-a-Lago golf resort.

Worth noting, Trump also picked an ambassador to who is friendly to China. Iowa governor Terry Branstad is still awaiting confirmation by the Senate. Iowa is a big soybean producer and China is the world's leading consumer. Branstad's confirmation would be a step in the right direction for U.S. China relations. The Iowa governor has said that he considers Xi a friend.

For Rothman over at Matthews Asia, the key question is how Trump uses the meeting. On Friday, Trump told the Financial Times in an exclusive interview that he had “great respect” for Xi and for China, and that he “would not be at all surprised if we did something that would be very dramatic and good for both countries..and I hope so.”

06 Apr 2017

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