The tariff fight between the two countries is often cited as the biggest risk to global investor confidence and a threat to the world economy. The International Monetary Fund, for instance, cut its global growth forecasts for this year and next as a result of the trade fight.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet at the G-20 summit this week, with trade high on their agenda. Kelleher acknowledged he can't know how the meeting will turn out, but he said he's hopeful that it will mark the start to "a more practical cooperation between the two basically superpowers."
"My view is that President Trump is a deal maker, he's realistic. He has a lot of support from the United States ... on whether China has benefited too much from globalization, and he's trying to re-address that balance," Kelleher said at the Morgan Stanley 17th Annual Asia Pacific Summit in Singapore.
"I think even the Chinese themselves understand the merit of some of that" sentiment, he added. The Chinese government under Xi is "very practical" and has shown "real evidence" of opening up their markets.