Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of this week's G20 summit in Argentina, it's clear from an interview President Trump gave The Wall Street Journal — and from Axios' own reporting — that his faith in tariffs is as strong as ever. Trump believes to his core that tariffs work, both to create negotiating leverage and as instruments to improve the U.S. economy, though it's hard to locate many economists who agree with Trump on the latter point.

The bottom line: A former top trade official on Capitol Hill said after reading the interview: "My main takeaway is that maybe Wall Street needs to stop being so optimistic that Trump is going to negotiate away this China thing in the relatively near future. We are in for a long haul."

The interview's key exchange:

  • WSJ's Bob Davis: "[T]he Chinese No. 1 goal in this G-20 is to get you to delay or suspend that [increase in the tariff rate on some Chinese imports from 10 percent to] 25 percent on January 1. ... [A]re you willing to do that?"
  • Trump, who’ll meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the summit: "I think it would be highly unlikely."

This suggests that, as Trump has been telling people he talks to regularly, he doesn't expect a breakthrough.

  • A breakthrough would mean any kind of deal — even a temporary one — to stop Trump from ratcheting up China tariffs in January, as he’s scheduled to do. 

Go deeper:

Go deeper

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
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Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

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A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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