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International relations

Trump to cancel Davos trip over government shutdown

As standoff with Congress drags on, US-China trade talks likely to continue

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in front of a prototype section of a border wall in March 2018: His fight with the Democrat-controlled Congress over funding for the wall has paralyzed parts of government.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump and several senior administration officials will cancel plans to attend the World Economic Forum this month in Davos, Switzerland, as Trump's standoff with Democrats in Congress over his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall has paralyzed parts of the government.

Trump tweeted on Thursday that he is canceling his trip to Davos "because of the Democrats intransigence on border security and the great importance of safety for our nation."

Trump had been expected to pitch his economic policies to world leaders and business executives for the second straight year. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other key officials are also likely to be absent.

Reuters reported on Thursday that U.S. officials expect China's top trade negotiator to come to Washington this month, signaling that higher-level discussions are likely to follow this week's midlevel talks in Beijing, as the world's two largest economies try to hammer out a deal to end their tit-for-tat tariff war.

"The current intent is that the Vice Premier Liu He will most likely come and visit us later in the month, and I would expect the government shutdown would have no impact," Mnuchin told reporters Thursday in Washington. "We will continue with those meetings, just as we sent a delegation to China."

People familiar with the talks in Beijing said the same day that hopes are rising that Liu will continue the discussions with Lighthizer and Mnuchin.

Senior-level talks are seen as important to ending the trade impasse, which has disrupted shipments of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods and roiled global markets.

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