President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping “will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan.”
In a tweet, Trump said that he and Xi “had a very good telephone conversation,” and that “our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting.”
Chinese state media reported shortly following the announcement that Xi had agreed to meet with Trump at the summit, scheduled for June 28-29 in Osaka.
Xi said he hoped that the U.S. treats Chinese companies fairly, according to Chinese media — a possible reference to Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant that faces a ban because of what the U.S. calls national security issues.
China had kept mum about whether Xi would agree to a face-to-face meeting with the U.S. president at the summit while the two economic superpowers remain locked in a heated trade dispute.
Trump has said he expected that meeting to occur at the high-profile summit, but had recently downplayed the impact that it could have on forging a trade deal with Beijing. Trump told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” last week that “it doesn’t matter ” if Xi attends the G-20 or not.
“If he shows up, good, if he doesn’t — in the meantime, we’re taking in billions of dollars a month [in tariffs] from China,” Trump told Fox.
The White House said that Trump and Xi “discussed the importance of leveling the playing field for U.S. farmers, workers, and businesses through a fair and reciprocal economic relationship” during the Tuesday morning call.
They also discussed “regional security issues,” the White House said.
Trump’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, told reporters later Tuesday that the call was mostly about “scheduling a very important talk” and was not that “deep.”
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Trump’s tweet.
Trump and China have slapped punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of imports of each other’s goods. In May, Trump hiked up tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, and threatened to slap duties on another $300 billion after talks stalled out that month.
Trump told CNBC last week that he would immediately impose the additional $300 billion in tariffs if Xi didn’t attend the G-20 summit.
Current and former Trump administration officials and trade advisors have cautioned that a potential meeting with Xi is not likely to yield a trade agreement on its own, but could help clear the path to a deal.
Trump’s tweet came shortly before U.S. Trade Representative was scheduled to testify before the Senate Finance Committee about the president’s 2019 trade policy agenda. Lighthizer was expected to focus mainly about the trilateral trade deal to replace NAFTA, called the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA, which was agreed upon by the three allied nations but has yet to make it through Congress.
But Lighthizer is likely to face questions about how the Trump administration’s next steps on the negotiations with China, where Democrats and some Republicans have harshly criticized the president’s use of tariffs.
Trump met with Xi at the prior G-20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last December. The two leaders discussed the trade dispute and tariffs, as well as the U.S. opioid crisis.
While that summit was in full swing, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada and charged in Vancouver over allegations that the company defrauded banks by concealing payments from sanctioned Iran.
–CNBC’s Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.