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Trade talks are in final stages, but there is still fear China may walk back concessions: Reports

Key Points
  • Some U.S. officials fear that China is reneging on certain trade concessions, Bloomberg News reported first Tuesday afternoon.
  • Two others said that Beijing negotiators have shifted their stance because they're not convinced Washington will lift U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese exports.
  • Dow Jones later reported that trade talks are in the final stages and that the U.S. trade representative and Treasury secretary will fly to Beijing the week of March 25.
President Donald Trump, left, and China's President Xi Jinping arrive for a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. 
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

There were multiple reports about trade talks between the U.S. and China on Tuesday, which sent traders scrambling to decipher.

Some U.S. officials fear China is reneging on certain trade concessions, Bloomberg News reported first Tuesday afternoon. People familiar with the talks told Bloomberg that they are concerned that China's pushback and stalling of discussions could threaten President Donald Trump's chance at a boost ahead of his 2020 re-election bid.

Two others said that Beijing negotiators have shifted their stance because they haven't received convincing assurances from Washington that U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese exports would be lifted.

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Stocks distressed by conflicting China headlines

The report knocked stocks to their lows of the day and nearly sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average into negative territory on the session. The Bloomberg report did note that some U.S. officials believe China's moves were normal.

Equities quickly rebounded, however, after Dow Jones reported that trade talks are in the final stages. It also reported that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will fly to Beijing the week of March 25 and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington the week after.

Trump said last week that he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China and doubled down that any agreement include intellectual property rule enforcement, a recurring hitch for the talks.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had been expected to hold a summit at the president's Mar-a-Lago property in Florida later this month. In February, the administration delayed an additional round of tariffs on Chinese goods. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month that the U.S. and China were "on the cusp" of a possible deal.