President Trump warned Beijing on Wednesday that he wouldn’t make a trade agreement unless U.S. demands were met. That represents another reversal of his most recent position, which showed optimism that a deal would be reached.
After meeting with advisors, Trump told reporters that he was in “no rush” to make a trade deal, which he contrasted with what he said was Beijing’s impatience, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Prospects for a trade deal have been on a roller coaster in recent weeks, the newspaper reported.
U.S. officials are trying to figure out whether special envoy Liu He, China’s vice premier and a close ally to Chinese president Xi Jinping, can press the Chinese bureaucracy to make concessions sought by Washington.
Those include firmer protections of intellectual property, a sharp reduction in subsidies and massive purchases of agricultural goods, services, natural gas and other products.
Trump is meeting regularly with his top trade advisers and keeping close tabs on the progress of videoconferences between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mr. Liu.
Last month, Trump told reporters that a deal was within striking distance. He spoke optimistically about a summit with Mr. Xi at his Mar-A-Lago, Fla., estate to finish negotiations by the end of March.
Now a March agreement looks unlikely, say U.S. officials.