This probably shouldn't come as a surprise, but American officials have reportedly made no progress in trade talks with China.
Bloomberg first reported this morning that Chinese and American officials are still very far apart on the structural changes the White House has been demanding for most of a year.
In closed-door sessions, the sides have failed to narrow the gap around structural reforms to China’s economy that the U.S. has requested, even as both seek to avoid an increase in tariffs after March 1, according to three U.S. and Chinese officials who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. [...]
The U.S. has not relented on demands for China to dial back government subsidies for state-owned enterprises and improve corporate governance, one of the people said, an extremely sensitive issue that is seen as a non-starter for Chinese leaders.
Bloomberg's sources say the breakdown in talks is a signal that it would take a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to strike a deal, but I honestly don't see how anyone could think that.
How can Trump personally strike a deal with Xinping if he doesn't understand how trade works or even how a tariff works?
In any case, reports from earlier this week implied that Chinese and American officials were making some progress, but you may recall that today was the first day that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer engaged in high level talks. This makes me wonder if the earlier reports were inaccurate, or if Mnuchin and Lighthizer are really this bad at their jobs.
To be fair, Trump is asking his lackeys to accomplish the impossible. Trump is demanding changes that are politically if not economically implausible for the Chinese.
Trump has approximately 15 days to decide if he will delay higher tariffs on Chinese goods.