24 June 2019



  • Upcoming Trump-Xi meeting will likely lead to renewed trade talks, but substantial agreement unlikely this year
  • Domestic constraints and major upcoming events, including US election and key Chinese anniversary, will limit scope for substantial trade concessions by either side until after 2020
  • In continued absence of comprehensive agreement, risk of tariff re-escalation will remain high, sustaining direct and indirect risks to US and non-US firms


The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed on 18 June that President Xi plans to meet US President Trump during the annual G20 summit in Japan from 28-29 June, after both leaders spoke on the phone earlier that day. China’s Commerce Ministry later confirmed that trade negotiators on both sides, including Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, will also meet ahead of the summit, in an informal revival of trade talks that have been stalled since Trump raised tariffs on Chinese goods on 10 May (see our 16 May Report).

Direct engagement between Trump and Xi has previously had a positive impact on trade talks, in part because both leaders are keen to demonstrate their personal ability to achieve diplomatic breakthroughs. For instance, their meeting on…

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