Ahead of the meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, U.S. businesses are managing expectations over what will come from the talks. Samantha Vadas reports.
When they're not going hammer and tongs over North Korea, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are sure to have business on their minds in Mar-a-Lago. Trump has promised to put American interests first and from Apple to Starbucks to General Motors, U.S. companies in China will be watching closely. But as Michael Martina explains from Beijing, there are some lingering worries. "One major concern of course is that Trump pushes the two countries too far toward a trade war doubling down on some of the idea he expressed during the campaign such as massive tariffs and labelling China a currency manipulator. There isn't really support for that in the foreign business community. On the other end of that however is a concern that the administration which is lacking some key officials at the moment is going into the meeting with no specific ammunition to convince China that it means business," he says. Lacking key officials is no exaggeration. Trump's pick for trade negotiator and Chinese ambassador haven't been confirmed by congress and several posts in his Asia policy team still haven't been filled. There are also worries about how much attention he's prepared to give American businesses away from home soil. "There's some degree of concern that Trump has not been particularly sympathetic to the concerns of US companies actually operating in China. He could put their demands on the backburner if other pressing international issues such as North Korea suck up all the oxygen in the meeting," Martina says. From the price of steel to complaints over auto tariffs and cyber security Trump will have no shortage of topics when he and Xi get down to brass tacks and that could be a problem in itself. One US-china expert telling Reuters that the list of commercial issues between the two countries is frankly so long that it would be impossible to make a major dent in them with just one meeting.