Speaking at an event hosted by Axios, Kudlow said he saw the odds of the U.S., Canada and Mexico agreeing on a new Nafta deal at a slim 51-49. It is bipartisan and seen in proposed legislation - particularly the China Fair Trade Enforcement Act - as well as administration action. Instead, Trump will likely continue upping the ante - betting on China preferring to come to an agreement rather than risk a trade war.
According to the Chinese media, a consensus was reached in some of these areas, but major disagreements still remained.
Liu's trip to Washington will be his second to America in three months and follows the recent visit to Beijing by a United States delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, which ended without tangible achievements.
If Trump concedes to Beijing's other demands, he would be declaring the United States' surrender in the economic struggle against China before the fight really begins. Fear of China exploiting USA economic openness to dominate crucial technologies is wider than ever in Washington.
The spat started with United States measures against Chinese steel and aluminium imports, which led to Beijing imposing tariffs on 128 different United States products.
ZTE reached a settlement in March 2017 for violating US export laws and paid penalties totaling $1.19 billion. In certain cases, Chinese regulators are arguably more influenced than most of their counterparts by national economic interest and place tougher conditions on deals.
"I understand the Commerce Department is reviewing that guidance", Wong said during a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing on Asia, adding that the guidance would be implemented in line with US laws and regulations concerning the ZTE case.
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"American workers and companies confront rampant theft of USA intellectual property, agricultural policies that disadvantage American farmers, restrictions on market access for US service providers and manufacturers, and mercantilist industrial policies that have cost USA workers their jobs", they wrote. "I don't want to play anyone's hand", said Kudlow.
Early last month the trade row intensified with both countries issuing details on further tariffs and with the food industry again caught in the crossfire.
But once you understand that Trump is primarily guided by the twin goals of affirming himself and dominating others, it becomes fairly easy to see what he'll do next.
An intensifying rivalry over advanced technology has also fueled demands by Washington that China give up policies that favor domestic companies.
"China is poised to announce more market opening measures, following moves in the finance and automobile sectors", Gary Liu Shengjun, the head of the China Financial Reform Institute in Shanghai said. "They are working very hard".
The Trump administration threatened ZTE's existence as a business last month, when the Commerce Department ordered the seven-year halt in US shipments of computer microchips and software at the heart of most of ZTE's gear. But it turns out that Donald Trump wants to save the Chinese company after all. Qualcomm's key acquisition is in doubt, while its global business will face growing constraints from Washington and an ever-tougher bargain with Beijing to access China's vast market.
Here are five companies that have high exposure in China that investors should be aware of.