Before last week’s summit between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, would Donald Trump have been considered the proverbial “bull in the china shop?” After all, as a candidate, Trump promised to brand China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office. Also while on the campaign trial, he promised to serve Xi Big Macs during their first meeting to stay focused on the issues. In the days leading up to the U.S.-China summit, Trump signed an executive order tasking the U.S. Department of Commerce with investigating trade practices in any industry where the U.S. has a large trade deficit. Although this order was not aimed at China specifically, on his Twitter account, President Trump noted that the upcoming meeting would be “difficult.”
Looking back, what did we learn during the summit regarding both actual policy and the status of U.S. – China relationships? “This past meeting shows the real differences in approach between the Trump administration and the Chinese delegation, and for that matter between the current White House and previous administrations,” noted LPL Chief Wealth Strategist Matthew Peterson. “Despite, or maybe because of these differences, both parties walked away with some concrete proposals and the foundation for the next meeting to be held in China,” Peterson said.
And though this meeting had no joint press conference, no communique, and none of the trappings of typical statecraft, according to Peterson, what the parties did walk away with is “A 100-day period to review trade between the two countries, almost a pre-emptive truce in a possible coming trade war.” It is by these next 100 days that history may really judge the Trump administration.