American with personal ties to China's Xi has some negotiating tips for Trump

President Xi Jinping's Iowa connection

For an American businessman, Gary Dvorchak has an unusual connection to China's elusive president.

More than 30 years ago, as a young communist party cadre, Xi Jinping stayed in Dvorchak's Iowa bedroom on an agricultural fact-finding mission to the U.S.

"He was a young man, he was in his early 30s, he was with a delegation, he was a regular person," Dvorchak told CNBC.

But this week, now-President Xi is making another trip to America: this time to meet President Donald Trump.

Dvorchak, currently living in Beijing and managing director at Blueshirt Group Asia, had a recent dinner with Xi, and he has the photo to prove it.

Gary Dvorchak and his family with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a 2015 dinner.
Courtesy: Gary Dvorchak

In fact, thanks to his old family connection, he has access to top Chinese officials. He also has some negotiating tips for Trump.

"The Chinese have a lot of work to do internally to develop the economy both from domestic consumption and for more exports, so I don't think we can be as forceful as we would like to be," he said. "We have to understand that, yes, we do need fair trade, but China is ultimately still a developing country and they need to sell before they can buy."

As for what Xi wants from the upcoming meeting, Dvorchak said he may be seeking to ease the tone of the relationship.

"I think he would like to have the rhetoric toned down a bit. Even though it's all talk for the most part really, it's culturally — the Chinese do not like that level of conflict," he said.

As for potential mistakes that the U.S. side could make, Dvorchak said: "If the public harshness translates into the private discussion across the table, I don't think it will be a productive meeting."

But Dvorchak also had some advice for Xi: Pick up a Trump tome.

"Read 'The Art of the Deal' because a lot of what he is doing he has done over and over his whole life," Dvorchak recommended. "That's what I think would be very helpful for President Xi — to understand the style, understand the approach he is going to have. That helps you think of ways to disarm it."

In fact, Dvorchak had his own copy of "The Art of the Deal," which he said was one of the first books he read for business.