The Wall Street Journal reports that China and Mexico both signaled a willingness to negotiate with Washington over escalating trade issues, while the Trump administration took to the airwaves to defend its use of tariffs to gain concessions from trading partners. Beijing released on Sunday a government policy paper on trade issues, accusing Washington of scuttling the negotiations, which broke down in all but name in May. It said the Trump administration's "America First" program and use of tariffs are harming the global economy and that China wouldn't shy away from a trade war if need be. But throughout the document and at a briefing, the government suggested a willingness to return to negotiations. "We're willing to adopt a cooperative approach to find a solution," Vice Commerce Secretary Wang Shouwen said in Beijing on Sunday.
Bloomberg says that once confident it could deal with Trump, China is realizing in the thickening fog of his trade war that this may be a prolonged conflict. If U.S. officials meet their Chinese counterparts at gatherings of Group of 20 finance and trade ministers in Japan this week, they may still try to secure a summit between Trump and President Xi Jinping in Osaka at the end of this month and possibly resume negotiations. To get there, they'll need to address four issues perplexing Beijing:1. Trump's reliability as a negotiator; 2. Trump is better at starting than ending fights; 3. Retaliation has many forms and China knows them; 4. China knows Trump's tariffs are unpopular.