Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State.
Anjali Sundaram | According to People Attending CNBC's Secretary of State's Meeting
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a group of business and economics executives in free trade that he believed the trade war with China could end by the 2020 presidential election.
At a private lunch in New York on Tuesday, Pompeo spoke to a crowd of about 40 people, including economics writer Stephen Moore, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwartzman, Gristedes supermarket founder John Katsimatidis and former GOP chairman in New York.Cox, according to people, attended the gathering.
Representatives of the State Department and Blackstone did not return a request for comment.
President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on various Chinese goods since the beginning of his administration, while China is retaliating against trade barriers.
Pompeo told CNBC's Squawk Box earlier on Tuesday that he was not sure where things would end up between the US and China.
"I don't know the answer to that. I spoke to Secretary Mnuchin almost every day," Pompeo told CNBC. "I was not at the center of these real negotiations. I've seen them make real progress. "
Moore said Pompeo, speaking at lunch, sounded a little outrageous about the prospects of the agreement.
"He still thinks we can come to a deal before the election. I think we would all agree that it would be better for the country," Moore told CNBC in an interview.
Moore also noted that Pompeo still seems furious with China in the short term. Pompeo, according to Moore, said there were still obstacles to an immediate agreement.
"The slogan was to get China to agree on things. Hardliners are in command right now," Moore said, reflecting Pompeo's remarks.
Katmatidis also said that Pompeo senses that China and the US will come to an agreement next year.
"He talks about China. He thinks it will probably be over and they won't wait until 2020," the supermarket mogul said.
The meeting was organized by the Prosperity Development Committee, whose founders include Moore, former Reagan administration economist Art Laffer and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes. Catsimatidis is a member of the group.
Watch: Full CNBC Interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo