It's hard to say what the current status of trade negotiations between the U.S. and China is now that a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping looks unlikely, but Trump's trade representative Robert Lightizer seems to think negotiations will miraculously conclude in a matter of weeks.
If negotiations don't conclude in the relatively near future, Lighthizer says they will walk away.
“Our hope is we are in the final weeks of having an agreement,” Lighthizer, the top U.S. trade official, said during a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday, though he cautioned that major issues remained.
“If those issues are not resolved in favor of the United States, we won’t have a deal.”
It's not clear what will happen next if they don't have a deal, but I think we can infer that Trump will go ahead and increase his tariffs from 10 to 25 percent in that event.
Chinese state media recently reported that officials believe a top-level meeting with Trump would be a waste of time because Trump may walk away from it with nothing to show for it just like the walked away from his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The White House pushed back on those reports while not necessarily denying that Trump could walk away and his trade representative Robert Lighthizer is now saying the same thing; that they could just walk away.
I still believe this is going to end with either a nothingburger or a catastrophe. There never seems to be a middle ground with Trump.