President Trump’s schedule (EDT):
10:50 AM: Meets with Irish Prime Minister Varadkar
12:00 PM: Attends the Friends of Ireland Luncheon at The Capitol; and
6:00 PM: Participates in the Shamrock Bowl presentation by Irish Prime Minister Varadkar.
The House will recess this afternoon until March 25th. The Senate will go out tomorrow to return on March 25th also.
“China and U.S. to Push Back Trump-Xi Meeting to at Least April.” This just out Bloomberg article leads with:
A meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping to sign an agreement to end their trade war won’t occur this month and is more likely to happen in April at the earliest, three people familiar with the matter said.Despite claims of progress in talks by both sides, a hoped-for summit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort will now take place at the end of April if it happens at all, according to one of the people. China is pressing for a formal state visit rather than a lower-key appearance just to sign a trade deal, the person said.Xi’s staff have scrapped planning for a potential flight to the U.S. following a trip to Europe later this month, a separate person said. The people asked not to be named as the details are private.Fear of Trump Walking Out on Xi Haunts China as Talks Near EndU.S. stock index futures dropped on the news. China’s offshore yuan extended its drop to as much as 0.51 percent, the most since Feb. 1.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this week pointed to “major issues” still unresolved in the talks, with few signs of a breakthrough on the most difficult subjects including treatment of intellectual property. Chinese officials have also prickled at the appearance of the deal being one-sided, and are wary of the risk of Trump walking away even if Xi were to travel to the U.S.White House communications staff didn’t immediately respond to an early morning request for comment. The State Council in Beijing also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Trump in ‘No Rush’ to Make Trade Deal With China.” Last night’s Wall Street Journal article led with:
WASHINGTON—President Trump warned Beijing Wednesday that he would not sign off on a trade deal that didn’t meet U.S. demands, in a sharp departure from his recent optimism.Following a White House meeting with his advisers, Mr. Trump told reporters that he was “in no rush” to make a trade deal, which he contrasted with what he said was Beijing’s impatience.“China very much wants to make a deal,” he said. Mr. Trump added that Chinese President Xi Jinping understands that he would walk away from a weak offer, as he had done last month in the Hanoi summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.Christopher Adams, formerly a Trump Treasury official and U.S. trade negotiator stationed in Beijing, said the president’s comments may reflect a negotiating tactic.“Trump can use this for leverage and could also be mindful he would be criticized for a weak deal,” he said.The Chinese Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Prospects for a trade deal have been on a roller coaster of late. U.S. officials are trying to figure out whether special envoy Liu He, China’s vice premier and a close Xi ally, can press the vast Chinese bureaucracy to make the concessions sought by Washington.Those include firmer protection of intellectual property, a sharp reduction in subsidies and massive purchases of agricultural goods, services, natural gas and other products.
USMCA in the hands of Speaker Pelosi. This morning’s Politico Playbook states:
WHITE HOUSE TO PELOSI: MOVE NEW NAFTA WHENEVER YOU’D LIKE! … TRUMP is doing something you might not expect when it comes to moving the U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade deal: He’s completely deferring to SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI’S schedule for passing it. The White House — which is requesting to speak on background on trade talks — says it is “deferential to Speaker Pelosi’s timetable.” It’s quite the move for TRUMP, who is banking on the USMCA as his chief legislative achievement this Congress.THE WHITE HOUSE’S DECISION TO put all of its cards in Pelosi’s hand is risky, of course, but it’s a recognition that she runs the place. But TRUMP bowing to Pelosi, and giving her the proverbial keys to rewriting NAFTA — something he’s talked about since the campaign days — is notable, especially as 2020 approaches. The White House believes that even though many of her members hate Trump, this deal is a win for them back home, which will force Pelosi to move. OF COURSE, Pelosi has far more experience in legislating than Trump does, so we’ll see how this all goes.THE WHITE HOUSE was heartened by Pelosi inviting ROBERT LIGHTHIZER to the Dem Caucus on Wednesday, but don’t read too much into that, senior Dem sources tell us. It wasn’t at all an endorsement of the USMCA, or anything of that nature. It was Pelosi allowing Lighthizer to make his arguments and allowing members to make a judgment either way. The meeting went well enough, but significant issues remain outstanding.– SOME INTEL: When thinking about the USMCA, and its prospects for success, you need to focus your thinking on one place: the House. The Senate needs to wait to see what the House can or cannot do with TRUMP’S trade deal.“Spectrum Auction Threatens Lives, Members Warn.” Last night’s CQ Roll Call article stated in its entirety: