Since then, the two countries have exchanged several rounds of trade tariffs, levying duties on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods. The longer their trade war lasts, the longer companies and consumers will feel the pain of higher-priced imports and exports. The U.S. -China trade war is one piece of the puzzle, as is the backlash to the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant. Yet those very pressures, analysts say, give the two countries a stronger incentive to make peace. The measures have disrupted trade, hurt manufacturing, roiled worldwide markets and slowed the global economy. "Now, the question is can we negotiate these changes and can we do so with enforcement (and) with timetables".
To be sure, the United States is far from alone in hurting from the tariffs, which Trump asserts are necessary to force China to change business practices seen as unfair.
Negotiations between the two nations are expected to resume next week.
In addition to Gerrish, the official delegation will also include David Malpass, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for global affairs.
The world is watching anxiously.
The talks adds to signs that the world's two largest economies are making progress in cooling trade tensions.
Still, recent equity performance suggests both countries have suffered from rising protectionism.
Businesses, amid uncertainty, have held back on the sort of investment that could boost long-term growth, while governments globally struggle with a combination of high debt levels and mounting infrastructure needs. "Can they compromise? We'll see". But the dispute goes far deeper than lopsided exports and imports. -China relations will force other US companies to cut their sales estimates in China. Beijing responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing down customs clearance for US companies and suspending issuance of licenses in finance and other industries.
Trump and Xi agreed to postpone additional tariff hikes for 90 days, but economists say that is too little time to resolve their sprawling dispute. As of July, the US was running a $222.6 billion trade deficit with China. For 2018, the Dow Jones Industrial Average - America's highest-profile stock market benchmark - fell almost 6 per cent, its worst performance since 2008.
On top of concerns about collateral damage from the U.S.
The results have been more negative for the United States than for China, according to a recent HSBC research note. Cutting a deal with Beijing could help at least reduce the threat.
Chinese economic growth fell to a post-global crisis of 6.5 percent in the quarter ending in September. But heavy government spending masked weakness in private-sector activity. Auto sales tumbled 16 percent in November over a year earlier and weak real estate sales are forcing developers to cut prices.
Lighthizer's office was also responsible for the original report a year ago that laid out allegations of Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property and formally kicked off the tariff process. Also set to travel are USTR's chief agricultural negotiator Gregg Doud; the Department of Agriculture's under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs Ted McKinney; Commerce Department undersecretary for global trade Gilbert Kaplan and the Energy Department's assistant secretary for fossil energy Steven Winberg.
Officials from the Trump administration will travel to Beijing for discussions to be held on Monday and Tuesday, with the ambition that both sides will be able to build on the agreement made in Buenos Aires.