- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 1, 2018

President Trump voiced optimism Saturday about closing in on a trade deal as he sat down for a high-stakes dinner meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Hoping to cool down an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies, Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi got together for a steak dinner in Buenos Aries, where they attended the G20 summit.

“The relationship is very special, the relationship that I have with President Xi and I think that is going to be a very primary reason why we’ll probably end up getting something that will be good for China and good for the United States,” said Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump has hit Beijing with tariffs on roughly $300 billion worth of Chinese goods and threatened more. He is pressuring them to end unfair trade practices such as theft of intellectual property, subsidizing Chinese companies and using high duties and other trade barriers against American goods.

The dinner followed the conclusion of the two-day summit where the 20 leaders agreed to support reforms to the World Trade Organization, which is a priority for Mr. Trump and his get-tough trade policy on China.

The dinner meeting included large delegations form both sides. Mr. Trump bought along China hawks Peter Navarro, a top trade adviser, and Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative.

Mr. Trump said he would also ask Mr. Xi to crack down on the manufacturing of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has been an especially deadly element of the opioid addiction epidemic in the U.S.

“If he puts fentanyl on a restricted category we’ll be able to pretty much stop it — that would be to criminalize it in China,” said Mr. Trump. “That would be a great thing.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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