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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Xi may soon come to Mar-a-Lago. President Trump's advisers have informally discussed holding a summit there next month with Chinese President Xi Jinping to try to end the U.S.-China trade war, according to two administration officials with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.

Both officials, who are not authorized to discuss the deliberations, described Trump's club in Palm Beach, Florida, as the "likely" location for the leaders' next meeting, but stressed that nothing is set. The meeting could come as soon as mid-March, these sources said.

  • A third official cautioned that the team has discussed other locations, including Beijing, and that it's premature to say where they'll meet or even whether a meeting is certain to happen.

The big picture: Perhaps the darkest cloud of economic uncertainty hanging over the Trump administration is the status of his trade war with China. Global markets are holding their breaths over the fate of hundreds of billions of dollars of trade.

Behind the scenes: Trump's upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam has complicated logistics for the Xi summit. Trump wanted to meet with Xi before his tariff ceasefire with China ends on March 1, but three sources with direct knowledge said the events couldn’t be planned so close together.

  • On March 1, Trump must decide whether to ratchet up tariffs from 10% to 25% on some $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. In early December, Trump told Xi he'd bump up those tariffs unless the Chinese showed "progress" on the big structural issues. (Trump hasn't been clear what would satisfy him here.)
  • The Chinese are loath to see the tariffs go up on March 1. Their influential stateside allies — especially on Wall Street — have long helped them sell Washington on promises of reform that never materialize.

The bottom line: It doesn't appear that the U.S. and China have made much progress, so far, on the biggest structural issues that Trump has promised to conquer. These include China's rampant theft of U.S. intellectual property, forced transfer of U.S. technology and trade abuses that China's leaders have used to grow their economy at America’s expense.

  • This week’s Beijing talks with senior officials will focus on enforcement, as the White House China hawks doubt the Chinese will keep any promises.
  • Trump plans to speak to Xi by phone before March 1, according to two administration officials familiar with his thinking. A long-term deal won't come before the two leaders meet.

What to watch: Congressional China hawks are pushing Trump to hold the line on China. The Senate Small Business Committee, which Sen. Marco Rubio chairs, will release a report on Tuesday "laying out the challenges with China’s campaign of industrial espionage and coercion," according to a source with direct knowledge.

Go deeper

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

National Guard chief: Pentagon's "unusual" Jan. 6 restrictions led to 3-hour delay

William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, testified Wednesday that a three-hour delay in approval for National Guard assistance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was exacerbated by "unusual" restrictions on his authorities by Pentagon leadership.

Why it matters: Walker testified that if Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy had not prohibited him in a Jan. 5 memo from using the National Guard's "Quick Reaction Force" without authorization, he would have "immediately" sent troops to the Capitol after receiving a "frantic call" from then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund.

1 hour ago - World

U.S.-Iran nuclear diplomacy is going nowhere fast

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Iran's cool response to the Biden administration's push for diplomatic engagement, along with rising tensions in the region, makes clear that salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal may be far more difficult than many had anticipated.

The state of play: Both the U.S. and Iran have entered the diplomatic dance, but it seems to be moving in circles.

Venture capital platform Indie.vc is shutting down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Indie.vc, an effort launched six years ago to invest small amounts in bootstrapped businesses, announced on Tuesday that it’s winding down.

Why it matters: Venture capital, despite being the money of innovation, is rarely innovative itself. Indie.vc was an effort to break out of the tedium, so its failure is de facto disappointing.