China

XI JINPING OFFERS TO HOLD US-CHINA TRADE TALKS IN MACAU: REPORTS

Could Macau find itself playing host to the world’s two most powerful leaders?

According to Chinese media reports early Thursday, such a scenario is very much on the cards with China’s President Xi Jinping having offered to meet with US President Donald Trump in Asia’s casino hub after the original meeting place of Santiago, Chile was cancelled due to civil unrest.

Macau presents an intriguing option for a Xi-Trump meeting, aimed at striking a temporary trade deal following months of economic tension between the two global powerhouses.

From a Chinese perspective, holding such talks in a territory it owns would no doubt provide a level of comfort while presenting Macau as a global-facing offshoot with a strong track record of welcoming US business interests.

From a US perspective, the most likely attraction would come from Trump’s own ties to Sheldon Adelson – the Chairman and CEO of Macau’s market-leading casino operator Sands China Ltd, a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands (LVS) – who also happens to be the Republican Party’s single biggest donor. LVS is one of three major US casino operators running hugely successful IRs in Macau alongside Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts.

While Trump has yet to confirm whether the offer of Macau has even been made, let alone accepted, it’s possible he could feel some pressure from Adelson and co to “show face” in the Special Administrative Region with the gaming concessions of all six Macau casino operators set to expire in 2022.

On the other hand, could Trump view fronting up at any of Macau’s hugely profitable integrated resorts – and rest assured the meeting would be held in an IR given their scale and appropriate level of luxury – as a reminder of his own failed excursions into casino ownership in Atlantic City?

Time will tell whether rumor becomes reality, but in the meantime the thought of Xi and Trump shaking hands along the canals of The Venetian Macao remains a tantalizing prospect.

 




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