U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he may not impose more tariffs on Chinese goods after Beijing sent the United States a list of measures it was willing to take to resolve trade tensions, although he added it was unacceptable that some major items were omitted from the list.
A deal to resolve the dispute would be a huge breakthrough on the issue that has dominated much of Trump's two years in office, blowback from which threatens to take the steam out of the USA economy.
A top economist warns Trump's China trade war is doing more damage to the U.S. economy than people think. "They sent a list of things they are willing to do, which is a large list and it is just not acceptable to me yet".
Experts are tempering optimism of anything substantial resulting from the Trump-Xi meeting at the G20 summit, with some comparing the potential outcome with the agreement reached with the European Union last summer.
Trump has imposed tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese imports to force concessions from Beijing on the list of demands that would change the terms of trade between the two countries.
A US Treasury team discussed trade with their Chinese counterparts on Tuesday, a Treasury spokesman said on Wednesday.
"Some things were left off". "They will walk out and say, "we need to do a deal", calling an effective ceasefire, and begin talking".
But the statements seemed to contradict comments from Trump's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who just hours earlier had said a deal with Beijing before January was "impossible".
Vice President Mike Pence said that the Trump administration does not plan to budge in its trade dispute with China, even if that means a cold war.
But the duties have raised costs for U.S. companies and been blamed for some of the recent slowdown in China's economic growth. "Impossible", he said, according to Bloomberg.
The top U.S. trade official, Robert Lighthizer, who is seen as one of the more strident trade hawks in the White House, has told industry executives that the next round of tariffs on China is "already on hold", according to a source cited by The Financial Times on Thursday. Some, such trade adviser as Peter Navarro, advocate taking a hard line on trade until China makes deep economic forms.
Pence said the USA is "in a strong position" for a potential escalation of the trade war it has already unleashed on China. It responded to United States tariffs with its own protectionist measures and continues its multibillion-dollar One Belt investment program, which is meant to secure additional stable trade routes to its most important suppliers and customers.