US President Donald Trump's top trade adviser undercut Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Washington's position with respect to China on Wednesday, calling Mnuchin's declaration of a pause in trade action against Beijing "an unfortunate sound bite".
"The United States will continue efforts to protect domestic technology and intellectual property, stop non-economic transfers of industrially significant technology and intellectual property to China, and enhance access to the Chinese market", the statement said.
In the end, Trump's grandiose claims of a sweeping and easy trade changes evaporated.
The dispute began in March, when his administration threatened to slap tariffs on up to $50 billion in Chinese shipments to punish Beijing for violating American IP rights.
Liu said a fortnight ago that a deal had been struck for China to increase imports of U.S. energy, agricultural, health, high-tech products and financial services.More news: Spotify backs away from artist-conduct policy after music industry criticism
Washington postponed its tariff threat in mid-May after Beijing promised to significantly increase its purchases of US farm goods and energy products, such as natural gas. Financial markets, wary of a calamitous trade war, were relieved.
China did not commit to cut the gap by any specific amount. They have never delivered on 1 promise in the past.
Separately, on Friday, the USA reached a deal on ZTE Corp. that will allow the Chinese telecommunications giant to remain in business.
Trump said last Friday he had reached a deal to keep ZTE running, rolling back some penalties in exchange for security guarantees - infuriating Democrats and some in his own party.More news: Telegram app not GDPR complaint as Apple blocks updates following Russian Federation ban
In return, the Commerce Department lifted a seven-year ban on ZTE's purchase of USA components that it imposed earlier in May.
China, meanwhile, has filed its own WTO dispute against the US, over Trump's earlier tariff proposals.
The Global Times, an influential tabloid run by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, said the United States was suffering from a "delusion" and warned that the "trade renege could leave Washington dancing with itself". Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat. The White House, and many American companies, say that China forces US firms to turn over technology as part of joint ventures with Chinese companies to gain access to its market.
Trump's team, meanwhile, has hit an impasse with Canada and Mexico on negotiations over NAFTA.
The easing in tension had fuelled optimism that agreement was imminent for Chinese antitrust clearance for San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc's $44 billion purchase of Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors NV, which has been hanging in the balance amid the trade dispute.More news: Italy's Conte sworn in as PM of anti-establishment government