China to Insist U.S. Lifts Huawei Ban as Part of Trade Truce



Lingling Wei, Bob Davis | The Wall Street Journal

OSAKA, Japan—Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to present President Trump with a set of terms the U.S. should meet before Beijing is ready to settle a market-rattling trade confrontation, raising questions of whether the two leaders will agree to relaunch talks.

Among the preconditions, said Chinese officials with knowledge of the plan, Beijing is insisting that the U.S. remove its ban on the sale of U.S. technology to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. Beijing also wants the U.S. to lift all punitive tariffs and drop efforts to get China to buy even more U.S. exports than Beijing said it would when the two leaders last met in December.

The U.S. chief trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, and his Chinese counterpart, Liu He, talked by telephone this week on ways to get the talks back on track and expect to meet in person in advance of the presidents’ Saturday lunch meeting after a Group of 20 summit in Osaka, said people familiar with the discussions. It is far from clear what the two will manage—and whether their bosses will approve their work.

Despite his preconditions, Mr. Xi isn’t expected to take a confrontational tone with Mr. Trump, according to the Chinese officials. Rather, they say, he will sketch out what he envisions as an optimal bilateral relationship, which includes China’s help on security issues vexing to the U.S., especially Iran and North Korea.

For their part, U.S. officials say they are going into the meeting looking to see whether their Chinese counterparts are willing to pick up negotiations from where they broke off. According to U.S. and Chinese officials, the two nations were close to a trade deal in April when, in the U.S. view, China reneged on provisions. It is up to Beijing, U.S. officials feel, to get the talks back on track.

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