Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, and senior White House adviser Peter Navarro, right, had an explosive shouting match in Beijing over trade talks with China. There has been no folding as the media would love people to believe.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was excluded from the talks.
Trump administration officials are gearing up for a new round of trade talks with Chinese officials at the White House on Thursday after a US trade delegation traveled to China earlier this month.
China has promised to retaliate in equal measure, targeting U.S. soybeans, aircraft, autos and other goods for additional tariffs.More news: Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists Is Officially Happening at Freeform
Navarro, 68, who once published a book entitled "Death by China", has always been hostile to the country. But another senior White House official said that while the three men won't be part of the official delegation, they will participate in the negotiations.
U.S. -Chinese trade relations are on shaky ground.
China's Vice-Premier Liu He leads the trade delegation from Beijing.
Despite Navarro's struggles internally, he has found himself with a bigger seat at the table since earlier this year, when he was promoted to the position of assistant to the President, coming at a time when Trump has dug back into his nationalist trade instincts.More news: Wilmer Valderrama Delightfully Dressed Like a Bird to Explain Venezuela's Political Crisis
The Trump administration slapped $50 billion tariff package targeting China over last month what it says are unfair trade practices, with 25 percent tariffs being leveled on imports of Chinese electronics, shoes, furniture and other goods.
Bloomberg cited administration officials who said Navarro did not work well with the team when the USA trade delegation, headed by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, met with Chinese trade officials in Beijing earlier this month.
The Commerce Department in April imposed such severe restrictions on ZTE that the firm could have been forced to close, enraging Chinese leaders.
Navarro wasn't listed among the USA officials who will take part in this week's talks in a statement released by the White House earlier Wednesday.More news: 'Serial' Heads to HBO for 'The Case Against Adnan Syed'
One person close to Navarro said the White House official believes he is the target of a leak campaign meant to further sideline him during the Liu visit, at perhaps the most pivotal moment in the trade talks between the US and China. Navarro will, in fact, be participating in the talks, according to the administration official who was contacted after the Bloomberg report was published. An administration official confirmed Mnuchin and Liu added one-on-one meetings to the schedule during the trip, but said no team meetings were scrapped as a result. China has threatened to retaliate for the tariffs, which could be imposed after a public comment period ends May 22.