HONG KONG — When President Bill Clinton deliberated whether he should loosen trade barriers against China, Wall Street helped plead Beijing’s case.
Today, China is hoping that Wall Street will once again use its political heft to soothe tempers in Washington. But as President Trump ratchets up the trade war with Beijing, Wall Street’s words are falling on deaf ears.
Senior Wall Street executives met in Beijing on Sunday with current and former Chinese officials and bankers at a hastily organized session to find ways to strengthen financial ties between the United States and China. On Monday, the group — which included executives from Goldman Sachs Group, Morgan Stanley and the Blackstone Group, the private equity firm, among others — planned to meet with Vice President Wang Qishan, the right hand man of Xi Jinping, the country’s leader.
New trade talks between the two governments are tentatively scheduled between Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Liu He, a Chinese vice premier, later this month in Washington. Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chief, has been playing a critical role in organizing them, say people familiar with the talks, who asked for anonymity because the process is sensitive.
美国财政部长史蒂文·马努钦(Steven Mnuchin)与中国国务院副总理刘鹤暂定本月晚些时候在华盛顿举行两国政府之间新的贸易谈判。知情人士表示，黑石集团首席执行官苏世民(Stephen A. Schwarzman)在组织这次会谈方面扮演了关键角色，但因为该过程性质敏感，这些人士希望保持匿名。
But the Chinese have indicated that they will pull out of the talks if Mr. Trump follows through on his threat to impose tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Trump has told advisers that he wants to move ahead with the new round of tariffs and an announcement could come as early as this week, another person familiar with the discussions said.
That continues a frustrating trend for America’s financial titans: Even as they win tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks from the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress, they appear to be able to do little to stop the trade war.
“What’s really surprising is that the connections that used to work, the formula that used to work, just don’t work at this point,” said Marshall W. Meyer, an emeritus professor of management at the Wharton School of Business.
“真正令人惊讶的是，过去行之有效的关系、过去行之有效的公式，现在却行不通了，”沃顿商学院(Wharton School of Business)管理学荣休教授马歇尔·W·迈耶(Marshall W. Meyer)说。
Wall Street has long gambled that helping China would pay off. China has been slow to open its vast but tightly controlled financial markets, and Wall Street banks hope to get more business advising Chinese companies on acquisitions in the United States, lending money and selling financial services. Pressure from the Trump administration is now bearing fruit as China has begun to open its financial markets to foreign banks, though a worsening trade war could stymie that progress.
The financial sector’s arguments have often found a sympathetic ear in Washington. Over the past two decades, China has emerged as a major global economic growth driver and as an important customer for many American companies, including Apple, Qualcomm and General Motors.
But the Trump administration’s trade hawks have so far prevailed against Wall Street-friendly voices of trade moderation, such as Mr. Mnuchin, a onetime Goldman Sachs executive. That is partly because the trade war hasn’t shown President Trump much downside. His stance has won support from both parties. The United States economy shows few signs of trade-war damage, and markets continue to rise.
Even if Republicans lose Congress in November’s elections, the trade war will probably continue, said Robert B. Zoellick, a former United States trade representative. Only a slump in the markets might make him reconsider, Mr. Zoellick said.
美国前贸易代表罗伯特·B·佐利克(Robert B. Zoellick)说，即使共和党在11月的选举中输掉国会，贸易战也可能会继续下去。只有市场暴跌可能会让他重新考虑，佐利克表示。
“I don’t think that’s going to affect Trump,” Mr. Zoellick said about November’s elections. “Markets could.”
Relations between President Trump and Wall Street are complicated. Last year’s tax bill greatly favored big financial companies, but some financial executives have clashed openly with Mr. Trump.
JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, a onetime informal adviser to Mr. Trump, said last Wednesday in a speech that “I’m smarter than he is” and that unlike Mr. Trump’s, his personal wealth “wasn’t a gift from Daddy.” Mr. Trump the next day called Mr. Dimon a “nervous mess,” and Mr. Dimon has since said he shouldn’t have made the remarks. Others, like Morgan Stanley’s chief, James Gorman, and the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd C. Blankfein, opposed Trump policies like his original travel and immigration ban.
摩根大通首席执行官杰米·戴蒙(Jamie Dimon)曾是特朗普的非正式顾问。上周三，他在一次演讲中说，“我比他（特朗普）聪明”，而且不同与特朗普，他的个人财富“不是老爹的馈赠”。第二天，特朗普称戴蒙“神经病”，此后戴蒙也表示自己不应该发表这些言论。其他人，比如摩根士丹利的首席执行官詹姆斯·戈尔曼(James Gorman)和高盛的首席执行官劳尔德·C·贝兰克梵(Lloyd C. Blankfein)，都反对特朗普的政策，比如他最初的旅行和移民禁令。
In the past, Wall Street was an effective advocate. In the late 1990s, when China’s effort to lower trade barriers faced tough political opposition, China flew its premier, Zhu Rongji, to New York to meet directly with financial and business leaders. Senior leaders of Goldman Sachs and the American International Group, the big financial conglomerate, urged President Clinton to strike a deal. He did, and China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Wall Street also discouraged the United States from formally accusing China of manipulating its currency. Both President Bush and President Obama vowed to get tough on China’s longstanding efforts to weaken the value of its currency to help its importers. Wall Street banks urged them to reconsider. Both ultimately backed down. (President Trump has also threatened to label China a currency manipulator, though the currency has strengthened considerably in recent years. Business leaders and some members of his administration have discouraged him from acting.)
The Wall Street influence ran deep. Robert E. Rubin, a Wall Street veteran, served as Treasury secretary under President Clinton and helped forge the consensus within the Clinton administration on how to bring China into the World Trade Organization. Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former Goldman Sachs executive with a high profile in China, served as President Bush’s Treasury secretary.
华尔街的影响深远。曾在华尔街工作过的罗伯特·E·鲁宾(Robert E. Rubin)在克林顿总统手下担任财政部长。在如何将中国纳入世界贸易组织的问题上，他帮助克林顿政府内部形成了共识。前高盛高管小亨利·M·保尔森(Henry M. Paulson Jr.)曾任布什总统的财政部长，在中国颇有名气。
Wall Street figures have cultivated China connections in other ways. Mr. Schwarzman has raised more than $500 million to build a scholarship program in his name at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University. Goldman Sachs last year said it would help China’s sovereign wealth fund put $5 billion into acquiring stakes in American businesses.
Mr. Schwarzman is working behind the scenes to get China and the United States talking again. He urged American officials to invite their Chinese counterparts to resume talks, according to the people familiar with the discussions.
Last week, Mr. Mnuchin issued an invitation, which Chinese officials publicly greeted warmly. But Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s chief economic adviser and another Wall Street veteran, suggested afterward that China had sought the invitation.
“There’s some discussions and information that we’ve received that the top of the Chinese government wishes to pursue talks,” he told Fox News.
The meeting in Beijing on Sunday — organized by Zhou Xiaochuan, China’s former central banker, and John Thornton, a former Goldman Sachs president — gave Wall Street a chance to press for more business from China. The bankers were planning to present Wall Street’s wish list for more market access, including creating a more transparent process for financial firms to get operating licenses and expanding the services that American bank branches can offer.
Because the meeting was called on short notice, top Wall Street executives didn’t attend. Most sent a senior executive, like Franck Petitgas, head of Morgan Stanley’s international business; John Waldron, president of Goldman Sachs; and Jon Gray, the No. 2 executive at Blackstone. Officials will pass suggestions to Mr. Liu, Mr. Xi’s top economic adviser.
由于会议是在匆忙之间召开的，华尔街顶级管理人员并没有参加。大多数公司都派出了一位高级管理人员，如摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)国际业务负责人弗兰克·佩蒂加斯(Franck Petitgas)；高盛总裁约翰·沃尔德伦(John Waldron);和黑石集团排位第二的执行官乔恩·格雷(Jon Gray)。官员们将向习近平的最高经济顾问刘鹤提出建议。
Prospects are good that this type of outreach will help, said Wendy Cutler, a former United States trade negotiator.
“Traditionally there have been these back channels, and one of the reasons why Beijing has put people like Liu He in these senior positions has been because they have such good relationships with Wall Street,” said Ms. Cutler, who is vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute.
“传统上，这些私下渠道一直存在，北京让刘鹤这样的人担任高级职位，原因之一就是他们与华尔街有着良好的关系，”卡特勒说，她目前担任亚洲社会政策研究所(Asia Society Policy Institute)副所长。
“To date, these back channels don’t seem to be working in moving this administration towards a negotiated solution.”