Expect No Breakthrough in U.S.-China Talks

Wendy Cutler on CNBC

ASPI Vice President Wendy Cutler joined CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss U.S.-China trade as negotiators meet in Shanghai.

As talks resume for the first time since Presidents Trump and Xi met during the G20 summit last month, Cutler says, “there’s going to be no breakthrough at this current round of talks.” Cutler predicts both sides will seek to confirm agreement on areas like agricultural purchases and Huawei discussed during the Trump-Xi meeting, and will then need to “figure out which text will be the basis for moving forward, and then in future rounds start getting back to the substance of these issues and try to break the deadlock.” On the issue of Huawei, Cutler says the U.S. negotiators will seek to offer assurances to their Chinese counterparts to get talks back on track, and that the U.S. needs to “sort out what’s national security and what isn’t.” She points to the example of semiconductors for Huawei cell phones, which could be replaced by foreign competitors, as an example of where the U.S. could loosen restrictions.

Cutler believes that “both sides don’t want a deal right now,” and predicts the meeting schedule for talks won’t be as intensive as they were last spring. While a deal is ultimately likely, Cutler says, “the timing in a trade negotiation is so important. So all the work the sides are doing now will lay the ground work for when both sides are ready to make the deal.”

Watch the full interview on CNBC.