China has reportedly backtracked on a prior commitment to change its industrial policy that now forces US companies to hand over intellectual property.
US President Donald Trump has turned up the heat even more in the trade battle with China, ordering tariff increases on nearly all remaining imports from the country, but Beijing says talks will continue in efforts to resolve the dispute.
The trade war has hurt the global economy in general and the two largest economies in particular. Beijing's tactics, the US contends, include hacking into USA companies' computers to steal trade secrets, forcing foreign companies to turn over sensitive technology in exchange for access to China's markets and unfairly subsidizing Chinese companies.
Behind each incremental move, Beijing sees a conspiracy to hold back China's development and block its rise.
He's not the only one bracing for more risk aversion. That's no point in dragging on if a Trump win is certain.
The amount of purchases by China should be "in line with reality", according to a commentary by state news agency Xinhua on Saturday.
For weeks, Trump administration officials had been indicating that the US and Chinese negotiators were making continuous progress.
Beijing is wrestling with an internal conflict: It is eager to end a trade fight that's battered against Chinese exporters, however it does not want to seem like it's bowing to the requirements of the Trump administration for far-reaching concessions.
Analysts see a broad clash taking shape.
China's Vice Premier Liu He has named three conditions for ending the trade war with the United States. He called it "a disturbing and perhaps unsafe development".
Donald Trump is making a high-stakes bet on his 2020 re-election with his decision to impose new tariffs on China: that the US economy is strong enough to absorb an all-out trade war - and might even benefit.
"The heady era of global economic integration is gone", Steil said.
On Friday, Trump issued orders for the tariff increase, saying China "broke the deal" by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations.
The U.S. gave its bottom line, saying Beijing had three to four weeks more to reach an agreement before the Trump administration enacts additional tariffs on $325 billion of Chinese imports not now covered by punitive duties, according to two people familiar with the talks. "By contrast, we think the rates market is already pricing in something like the brinkmanship scenario", which could continue for weeks.
Since a year ago, the United States and China have exchanged tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, gutting U.S. agricultural exports to China and weighing on both countries' manufacturing sectors.
Burgeoning tensions are also a result of Beijing's increasingly boisterous foreign policy.
Chinese officials have targeted operations of American companies in China by slowing customs clearance for their goods and stepping up regulatory scrutiny that can hamper operations.
Chines Vice Premier Liu He told reporters on Friday that the "negotiations have not broken down".
But analysis by two groups of economists found little evidence of that. Printed circuit boards, furniture, lighting products, auto parts, vacuum cleaners and building materials also are high on the list. "The Chinese refuse to provide the Americans the right to penalize them".
The talks were due to resume on Friday after wrapping up with no word on progress.
If U.S. voters elect a new president in 2020, relations might become less combustible. "An equal footing" would be the underlying guarantee for the final agreement, it said.
One of those is over tariffs, Mr Liu said, according to a transcript of the Q&A published by Phoenix, a Hong Kong-based television station that is close to Beijing.