The US has threatened to impose 25 percent punitive duties on up to $150 billion in Chinese goods while China has targeted $50 billion in American exports.
On Wednesday, his name wasn't on a Treasury Department list of US officials who will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and the rest of the Beijing delegation at Treasury on Thursday and Friday.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will lead the USA delegation in talks with Liu.
The talks are aimed at defusing a trade war.
"But of course we've prepared a response for various possibilities", said commerce spokesman Gao Feng at a Thursday press briefing. Navarro is a published critic of China's trade policies.
The two officials said that Peter Navarro, the White House trade and manufacturing adviser, will not be a principal player on the USA side. Navarro was angry over the direction of the talks and cursed at Mnuchin according to Axios' Jonathan Swan. For example, during the Beijing trip, Chinese officials pressed Mnuchin and others to relax restrictions on ZTE Corp., a controversial Chinese telecommunications company that has violated USA law.
After Trump's tweet on Sunday, Ross said the Commerce Department was "very, very promptly" exploring alternative ways of punishing the company. "Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal", Trump said. "China has seen our demands".
"We have not seen China's demands yet, which should be few in that previous U.S. Administrations have done so poorly in negotiating", Trump said.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday: "There has been no folding as the media would love people to believe, the meetings haven't even started yet!"
Beijing said it had taken note of the positive words in Washington on lessening sanctions on ZTE. Asked if the Trump administration will move forward with proposed levies on Chinese goods, Hatch said "I think they will go into effect".
"We hope the USA gets rid of economic and trade restrictions it should not have", Gao said.
"From the two documents that were exchanged a couple of weeks ago, they seem pretty far apart, and we don't know what revised offers have been made at this point or if they've narrowed or changed the list".
ZTE's seven-year USA business ban, ordered last month, led the company to say it was ceasing operations because it can not get the parts it needs for manufacturing telecommunications equipment and smart phones.
The president surprised many in Washington over the weekend by saying he's working with Xi to help ZTE "get back into business, fast".