January 10, 2019 / 8:31 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 4-Trump cancels planned Davos trip as shutdown drags on

(Adds Mnuchin going with small U.S. delegation)

WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled a planned visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later this month amid a shutdown of the federal government, signaling he was prepared for the political showdown to stretch into late January.

It was unclear whether the partial government shutdown, now in its 20th day, would end before the start of the global economic meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 22 to 25. Trump and congressional Democrats are in a battle over funding for the government and Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president had told reporters at the White House earlier on Thursday that he intended to speak at the forum but would not attend if the shutdown continued.

The cancellation quashes any opportunity for Trump to meet with other world leaders about economic issues, including trade.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin still planned to go to Davos, leading a small U.S. delegation there, said a source familiar with the planning.

The Trump administration is engaged in trade talks with the European Union and China, among others.

China and the United States have agreed to a 90-day pause in implementing tariffs in order to hammer out a trade deal.

China’s vice president, Wang Qishan, was expected to attend the Swiss meeting, but it was unclear whether any talks had been planned between him and Trump. (Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Lisa Lambert and Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Peter Cooney)

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