Donald Trump last month rejected a Chinese proposal to cut steel overcapacity despite it being endorsed by some of his top advisers, as he urged them instead to find ways to impose tariffs on imports from China.
One week after the July G20 summit in Hamburg — where Mr Trump criticised China for flooding the world market with cheap steel — Beijing proposed cutting steel overcapacity by 150m tonnes by 2022. But Mr Trump twice rejected the deal, according to several people familiar with the internal debate.
The offer came the week before US and Chinese officials held a high-level economic dialogue that had been set up by Mr Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping in April. Wilbur Ross, US commerce secretary, endorsed the deal and brought it to Mr Trump, but the president rejected the proposal.
Mr Ross, a long-time friend of the president, floated the deal again the following week during the two-day meetings with Chinese vice-premier Wang Yang, but Mr Trump once again refused to accept it, according to a US official and another person familiar with the debate.