U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Xi Jinping, China’s president, shake hands during a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. (Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Trump, China's Xi to Meet at G-20 to Talk Trade, Kudlow Says

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at the Group of 20 nations summit in Buenos Aires to discuss the trade dispute between the two countries, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday.

Kudlow told reporters that U.S. “asks are on the table” and that the two leaders “will meet for a bit” in the Argentine capital during the event. He said he anticipated staff-level meetings between Chinese and American officials ahead of the Nov. 30-Dec. 1 leaders’ summit.

But Kudlow also cautioned that he doesn’t expect a major breakthrough between the two leaders, while saying that a broad agreement “on some basic principles and trading rules” -- including intellectual-property theft, forced transfer of technology, and tariffs on agricultural products -- “would be most welcome.”

U.S. and Chinese officials have been discussing a meeting between the two leaders at the G-20 for months and the South China Morning Post reported last week that they had tentatively agreed to a session. The summit in Buenos Aires will be the last international event of the year that both Trump and Xi attend.

Formal negotiations have stalled since August, when Treasury’s undersecretary for international affairs, David Malpass, led discussions in Washington with Chinese Vice Minister Wang Shouwen. Kudlow accused China of refusing to engage on trade issues in a Financial Times interview published on Sunday.

The benchmark Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index fell last week to its lowest level in four years as trade tensions and concerns about an economic slowdown weighed on sentiment. Growth decelerated to 6.5 percent in the third quarter, according to data published Oct. 19 by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

In May, U.S. and Chinese negotiators issued long lists of demands during talks in Beijing. Among U.S. demands were a reduction in the country’s trade deficit with China and abandonment of subsidies and government support to strategic industries. Beijing’s Made in China 2025 program calls for promoting such emerging fields as artificial intelligence, big data and robotics.

Trump, China's Xi to Meet at G-20 to Talk Trade, Kudlow Says

China’s demands included the U.S. ceasing a ban on exports to China of integrated circuits, opening government procurement to Chinese technology products and services, and giving Chinese companies equal treatment in national security reviews.

Security disputes have fed fears that the China-U.S. trade fight could develop into a new Cold War. On Monday, Trump pledged to outspend Beijing on a nuclear buildup while the U.S. Navy sailed two warships through the Taiwan Strait, in a show of military support for the democratically run island.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.