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Letter from Washington

Politics daily

“U.S. Trade Negotiators Heading to Beijing Next Week.”  Last night’s Wall Street Journal article led with:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. is dispatching its chief trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing early next week to continue trade talks as a March 1 deadline to reach an accord nears, a senior Trump administration official said Tuesday.

The senior official also said President Trump hasn’t yet committed to meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping—a shift from Mr. Trump’s comments last week. “I’ll be meeting with President Xi, maybe once and maybe twice,” the president said during an Oval Office meeting Thursday with China’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He.

A meeting between the two presidents would signal that the talks were nearly finished, according to trade experts, with the two presidents ready to make the final compromises ready for a deal.

The U.S. official emphasized that the lack of commitment to a Trump-Xi meeting wasn’t a sign negotiations had stalled, but simply reflected how much needed to be accomplished before the two sides could make a deal. “The vibe was good,” the official said of last week’s talks.

In my opinion, President Trump desperately needs a trade deal “win,” so I expect an end to higher tariffs before March 2nd and a phased tariff reduction subject to promises by China to abide by WTO rules and respect intellectual property rights.

“Chamber CEO and DeFazio Team Up to Push Infrastructure Package.”  Last night’s CQ Roll Call article led with:

The CEO of one of Washington’s most influential business organizations and the new Democratic chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said Tuesday they will work together this year to boost spending on transportation, and the gasoline taxes to pay for it.

The chamber’s Thomas J. Donohue and Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., said President Donald Trump needs to get his fellow Republicans on board, and he should start with his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

“We’re looking for a strong statement on the importance of getting infrastructure deals done this year, followed by the necessary resources to get the job started in the forthcoming White House budget,” Donohue told an infrastructure conference organized by the chamber.

Politics daily

About Pete Davis

Pete Davis

Pete Davis advises Wall Street money managers on Washington, DC policy developments that affect the financial markets. Visit his website here daviscapitalinvestmentideas.yolasite.com.

Articles by Pete Davis

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