US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told his Chinese counterparts on a phone call on Monday that there will be no ‘balanced’ agreement, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC. Two other people familiar with the matter told CNBC that Lighthizer dismissed China’s suggestion that any trade deal should be “balanced,” citing the various violations of intellectual property that led to the current state of play.
China’s vice premier, meanwhile, reiterated the country’s position which had been outlined in several state media outlets in May: “The text must be balanced and expressed in terms that are acceptable to the Chinese people and do not undermine the sovereignty and dignity of the country.” Chinese officials are reportedly hoping that they can get some of their issues resolved during the G-20 summit. Among their priorities will be a lifting of the ban on the sale of US technology to Huawei Technologies, getting all current tariffs dropped, and accepting a lower purchase amount of US goods, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
Trump said Wednesday he would like to see a deal but is content with where things are now. “They want a deal more than I do,” he told Fox Business Network. The US team had earlier discussed a potential schedule for removing tariffs when China had proven it could comply with a deal. And Trump had previously told advisers he wanted to “double or triple” China’s $1.2 trillion purchase offer — not less.
The trade war between China and the United States began last year after Trump slapped 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in a bid to combat what he called Beijing’s "unfair trade practices.” Since then, the sides have exchanged several rounds of duties.