Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are reportedly ‘highly unlikely’ to meet before a critical trade war deadline

US President Donald Trump (R) and China's President Xi Jinping (L) along with members of their delegations, hold a dinner meeting at the end of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires, on December 01, 2018. - US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had the future of their trade dispute -- and broader rivalry between the world's two top economies -- on the menu at a high-stakes dinner Saturday.

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US President Donald Trump (R) and China’s President Xi Jinping (L) along with members of their delegations, hold a dinner meeting at the end of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires, on December 01, 2018. – US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had the future of their trade dispute — and broader rivalry between the world’s two top economies — on the menu at a high-stakes dinner Saturday.
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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are “highly unlikely” to meet before planned escalations in the US-China trade war, a senior administration official told CNBC.
  • That may depend on how trade talks in Beijing go next week.
  • Sticking points include rules on intellectual-property theft and state support for high-tech and industrial companies.

A meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping may not happen before a temporary truce in the US-China trade war is set to end.

CNBC reported Thursday that a senior administration official said the two leaders are “highly unlikely” to meet before a March 1 deadline, after which the Trump administration is scheduled to more than double tariff rates on $200 billion worth of Chinese products. The White House did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Along with planning a summit between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Vietnam at the end of the month, the administration official told CNBC there may not be enough time before the deadline but that a meeting may happen “shortly thereafter.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are set to meet their Chinese counterparts next week for trade talks.

Trade delegations have been laboring to work out a series of sticking points in the ongoing dispute, including rules on intellectual-property theft and state support for high-tech and industrial companies. On Wednesday, Mnuchin said there was “a lot of work left to do” before reaching a deal.