Economy

Carlyle's Rubenstein: I've spoken to US and Chinese officials and I see a trade deal by year-end

Key Points
  • "I do think there will be a resolution before the end of the year" in the U.S.-China trade war, says private equity billionaire David Rubenstein.
  • Rubenstein says he's spoken to U.S. and Chinese officials. "My view is both sides want a deal."
  • He predicts that President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at this month's G-20 summit .
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David Rubenstein: There will be a China trade deal in 2019

The United States and China want to resolve their trade dispute, private equity billionaire David Rubenstein predicted Tuesday on CNBC.

"I do think there will be a resolution before the end of the year," said the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, even though talks to end the Washington-Beijing tariff war have stalled.

"I go to China a fair bit, and I talk to government officials there, and I obviously talk to government officials here. My view is both sides want a deal," Rubenstein said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

In January, however, Rubenstein had indicated that his conversations with U.S. and Chinese officials suggested a trade deal in "the next few months."

Six months after those comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Rubenstein on CNBC on Tuesday was still holding out for a quick resolution.

Rubenstein also said he believes President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at this month's G-20 summit in Japan.

Hours later, Trump tweeted that he will indeed meet with Xi at the summit.

Last week, Trump told CNBC that if Xi does not attend the summit, the U.S. would impose additional tariffs on China. In the same interview, Trump also said he has "a great relationship" with Xi, adding that "he's actually an incredible guy."

On Monday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC's Phil LeBeau at the Paris Air Show that Trump is "perfectly happy with continuing the tariff movements" against China if a trade deal cannot be reached. Ross' comments echo those of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said last week the White House is unified on its plan in the event negotiations fall apart.

The Trump administration hiked tariff rates last month to 25% from 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports into the U.S. The president has been threatening duties on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, essentially the rest of China's imports.

Rubenstein served in President Jimmy Carter's Democratic administration as deputy assistant for domestic policy from 1977 to 1981. After leaving the White House and before starting Carlyle, Rubenstein practiced law in Washington.

Rubenstein said Tuesday he's out of politics and does not back any candidate. "I haven't given money in 25 years," he said.

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