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President Donald Trump's outside advisor on China said on Wednesday that he didn't expect a breakthrough in trade talks in the "near term."
Michael Pillsbury, director of the Center for Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute and a noted China hawk with the ear of the president, suggested that he expected a planned meeting between U.S. and Chinese negotiators scheduled for the end of the month to conclude without a trade deal.
"Over the last 45 years, a lot of American presidents have negotiated with China," Pillsbury said in response to a question about the meeting. "And there are some patterns to what has gone on. One of them is that the Chinese prefer to make a last-minute deal, to get the best deal they can. So I am not among those who think there is going to be a breakthrough in the next few days."
Pillsbury's comments came during a segment on CNBC's "The Exchange," anchored by Kelly Evans.
The meeting between U.S. negotiators and two Chinese vice ministers was canceled, CNBC has reported, though the White House has said "the teams remain in touch in preparation for high level talks" at the end of the month.
Pillsbury remained optimistic about the U.S. and China reaching a deal in the longer term.
"I don't expect this to be a smooth deal. But I do expect success, because President Trump cares so much about the issue," he said.
The U.S. has set a March 2 deadline for negotiators to reach a deal; if no deal is reached, tariffs are set to increase on $200 billion in Chinese goods.