The U.S. has already put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, and could slap duties on an additional $267 billion in imports. Beijing has responded with tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. goods targeting politically important industries such as agriculture.
Trump, who campaigned in 2016 on cracking down on what he called Chinese trade abuses, comes into the meeting with a specific set of demands. He wants to address alleged Chinese theft of intellectual property, forced technology transfers, ownership of American companies in China, and tariffs and nontariff barriers, among other issues.
The White House has shown optimism about making progress, but Trump has threatened even more tariffs if the sides cannot reach a deal. Washington and Beijing appeared to have a difficult task in striking a concrete trade agreement even as Trump seeks a political win on one of his signature issues.
On Friday, a senior administration official said Trump "doesn't feel pressure to make a deal for the sake of a deal" and feels "he has more time." The president has gotten information from advisors that the economy "continues to show resilience and strength" despite a recent slide in U.S. stock prices, the official said.
Here is a timeline of the U.S.-China trade conflict during the Trump era that led up to the dinner, and the products the tariffs have affected so far: