On Thursday, Mr. Trump met privately in the Oval Office with Liu He, China’s vice premier and the top economic adviser to Mr. Xi, who is expected to present the trade deal to the president’s advisers on Friday.

China sent mixed signals on Friday. At a daily news briefing, China’s Foreign Ministry denied it had offered to reduce its trade surplus with the United States by $200 billion. At the same time, it dropped what was widely believed to be a politically motivated inquiry into sorghum imports from the United States, the latest sign of a potentially softening stance.

Mr. Trump’s ability to stay focused on his broader trade agenda could be complicated by a bitter rift on his economic team. Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser most closely identified with tough policies toward China, is being excluded from meetings with the Chinese by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is leading the negotiations with Mr. Liu.

The discord between the two men boiled over this month during a trip to Beijing, when they got into a profanity-laced shouting match after Mr. Mnuchin cut Mr. Navarro out of another meeting with Mr. Liu. Treasury officials said Mr. Navarro was excluded because of protocol, not because of his hard-line views, but the two men are starkly opposed on how best to deal with China.

Mr. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, is eager to broker a deal that would defuse a trade war with China, officials said. Mr. Navarro, an academic who has written books with titles like “Death by China,” helped mastermind the investigation into whether China was stealing technology that led Mr. Trump to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods and threaten levies on another $100 billion worth.

Economists say that the purchase by China of $200 billion more in American goods per year — an amount equivalent to more than half of the annual American trade deficit with China — simply is not practical. “The short answer is these are unrealistic numbers,” said Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Even if the Chinese stopped buying other foreign products, like Airbus airplanes from the European Union or soybeans from Brazil, and purchased solely American products, it would add up to only a small fraction of the $200 billion total they are promising to purchase.



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