WASHINGTON — After weeks of threatening China with punitive restrictions and stiff tariffs, President Trump is now siding with his more moderate economic advisers and looking to strike a deal to avert a devastating trade war.

华盛顿——特朗普总统现在站在了更加温和的经济顾问的一边,希望达成一项协议,以避免爆发毁灭性的贸易战。此前数周,他一直用惩罚性的限制措施和高额关税威胁中国。

The administration is considering easing up on one of China’s largest telecommunications companies, ZTE, in exchange for China agreeing to buy more American products and lift its own crippling restrictions on American agriculture, people familiar with the deliberations said.

知情人士称,特朗普政府正在考虑放过中国最大的电信公司之一中兴,以换取中国同意购买更多美国产品,并取消对美国农业的严重限制。

Mr. Trump defended the shift in a tweet on Monday, saying that ZTE “buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies” and that the new stance was “reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi” Jinping of China.

特朗普周一发推文为这一转变进行了辩护,称中兴“从美国公司购买了很大一部分独立零部件”,并且新立场“代表了我们正在与中国谈判的更广泛的贸易协议,以及我与习主席的私人关系”。

The move is a sharp reversal from just two weeks ago, when the views of anti-China advisers within the Trump administration appeared ascendant. Mr. Trump, spurred on by Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Peter Navarro, a top trade adviser, was pushing the United States toward a potential showdown with the Chinese over its economic behavior — a clash that had put many American companies at risk.

这是一个急剧转变。就在两周前,特朗普政府内部反华顾问的观点似乎还方兴未艾。当时,在美国贸易代表罗伯特·莱特希泽(Robert Lighthizer)和最高贸易顾问彼得·纳瓦罗(Peter Navarro)的鼓舞下,特朗普正推动美国朝着与中国就其经济行为展开对决的方向发展。这场冲突令很多美国企业陷入了险境。

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During a trip to Beijing early this month, top American officials handed their Chinese counterparts a lengthy list of demands to dramatically change their trade practices and curtail the state’s role in the economy. The list, which included cutting their trade surplus with the United States by $200 billion, halting subsidies to advanced manufacturing and slashing their tariffs to the same level as the United States, took the Chinese by surprise, according to people familiar with the visit, and appeared to further chill relations between the two economic giants.

在本月初访问北京期间,美国高层官员向中国官员递交了一份冗长的清单,上面列出了大幅改变贸易做法并限制国家在经济中扮演角色的要求。清单中的内容包括将与美国的贸易顺差减少2000亿美元(约合1.3万亿元人民币)、停止补贴先进制造业、将关税降至与美国相同的水平。据知情人士透露,这份清单令中国大吃一惊,并且似乎导致这两个经济大国之间的关系进一步降温。

Mr. Trump now appears, at least for the moment, to be walking back from that tougher stance and seeking a quicker — and easier — resolution of trade conflicts with the Chinese.

特朗普现在,至少目前似乎即将放弃之前更强硬的立场,寻求用更快、更容易的方式解决与中国的贸易冲突。

The president’s reconsideration of sanctions imposed on ZTE stems in part from Beijing’s demand that the United States consider lifting the penalties ahead of a visit by Liu He, a Chinese vice premier, who was expected to arrive in Washington this week for negotiations aimed at resolving the simmering trade conflict between the two countries. The Chinese made clear that Mr. Liu’s visit was conditional on discussing the sanctions.

总统重新考虑对中兴的处罚,部分源于北京要求美国在中国副总理刘鹤访美之前考虑撤销相关处罚。刘鹤预计本周抵达华盛顿,参加旨在解决两国之间即将爆发的贸易冲突的谈判。中方明确表示,刘鹤访美的附带条件就是商讨相关处罚。

But the more moderate approach also stems from the more market-friendly views of two of Mr. Trump’s favorite advisers, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow, who heads the National Economic Council.

但更加温和的态度也源于特朗普最青睐的两名顾问,即美国财政部长史蒂文·马努钦(Steven Mnuchin)和国家经济委员会(National Economic Council)主席拉里·库德洛(Larry Kudlow)更亲市场的观点。

Mr. Mnuchin has taken the lead role in recent weeks in pushing to resolve tensions and avoid potentially damaging tariffs and investment restrictions. He pressed for top officials to travel to China to try to resolve trade tensions, and helped fuel the president’s focus on a deal revolving around reducing the United States’ trade deficit with China, which Mr. Trump frequently denounces.

最近几周,马努钦在推动化解紧张关系和避免出台可能会造成损害的关税、投资限制措施方面发挥着带头作用。他敦促高层官员去中国努力化解贸易紧张关系,并参与推动总统把重点放在一项以减少美国对华贸易逆差为中心的协议上。对华贸易逆差是特朗普经常谴责的对象。

“Secretary Mnuchin has been pushing for a more conciliatory view to China for this entire period, certainly since the launch of the 301 investigation,” Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said, referring to the section of trade law that authorized an investigation into whether China had illegally obtained American intellectual property. “We see evidence that the Treasury Department does not want to impose investment sanctions on China as required by the original 301 findings.”

“整个期间,当然是从301调查启动开始,马努钦部长一直在争取对中国采取更加温和的态度,”美国企业研究所(American Enterprise Institute)驻所学者史剑道(Derek Scissors)说。他提到的是授权对中国是否非法获取美国知识产权展开调查的贸易法律条款。“我们看到的证据表明,财政部不希望像最初的301调查结果要求的那样,对中国实行投资限制。”

A senior Treasury Department official said Mr. Mnuchin has had conversations with Mr. Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in recent days about China’s ZTE concerns. However, the official said a review of the Commerce Department’s action against ZTE was not a precondition for trade talks.

财政部一名高级官员表示,近几天,马努钦已经与特朗普和商务部长威尔伯·罗斯(Wilbur Ross)就中国对中兴的关切进行过谈话。然而,该名官员说,对商务部针对中兴所采取措施的评估不能构成贸易谈判的前提条件。

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Among the Trump economic officials, Mr. Mnuchin has been more encouraged by China’s expressions of willingness to address the trade imbalance between the two countries and, because of his national security responsibilities, he considers the implications for North Korea nuclear talks when engaged in trade negotiations.

在特朗普的经济官员中,马努钦一直更多地为中国表达出解决两国间贸易不平等的意愿所鼓舞,并且,由于他身上肩负的国家安全职责,他会在进行贸易谈判时将其对朝鲜核谈判的影响考虑在内。

The Trump administration threatened ZTE’s existence as a business last month, when the Commerce Department ordered a seven-year halt in American shipments of computer microchips and software at the heart of most of ZTE’s gear. The move hit one of the United States’ biggest telecom companies, Qualcomm, which lost the ability to export semiconductors to ZTE, one of its biggest customers. In China, Qualcomm’s plan to acquire NXP Semiconductors had been stalled by a prolonged antitrust review, which many saw as retaliation for America’s trade moves.

上个月,特朗普政府对中兴的存亡构成了威胁,当时商务部下令暂停出口在中兴大多数设备上运行的关键电脑微芯片及软件,期限为七年。这一举措重创了美国最大的电信公司高通(Qualcomm),令该公司无法向其最大的客户之一中兴出口半导体。在中国,高通收购恩智浦半导体(NXP Semiconductors)的计划也被一项旷日持久的反垄断评估所搁置,很多人认为该评估是对美国贸易举措的报复。

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security accused ZTE of violating American sanctions by selling to Iran and North Korea and then covering up the exports and rewarding the executives involved. ZTE has acknowledged it violated sanctions, but blamed the actions on poor internal controls rather than a deliberate defiance of the American legal system.

商务部工业安全局指控中兴向伊朗和朝鲜销售产品,违反了美国制裁措施,之后还掩盖出口行为,并且对涉事高管予以嘉奖。中兴承认自己违反了制裁,但将责任推给了内控不力,而非故意藐视美国法律体系。

中国副总理刘鹤即将前往华盛顿参加于周二开始的谈判。谈判旨在化解美中两国之间即将爆发的贸易冲突。
中国副总理刘鹤即将前往华盛顿参加于周二开始的谈判。谈判旨在化解美中两国之间即将爆发的贸易冲突。 Denis Balibouse/Reuters

ZTE, a 75,000-employee business that makes smartphones and cellphone tower equipment, began shutting down operations last week after it was unable to find alternative suppliers.

中兴是一家有着7.5万名员工的企业,生产智能手机和手机基站设备,在无法找到可替代的供应商后,该公司上周停止了业务。

But in a surprise tweet on Sunday, the president held out the possibility of a reversal for the company. “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”

但周日,在一则令人意外的推文中,总统提出了该公司获得逆转的可能性。“中国国家主席习近平,和我,正在共同合作,设法让大型中国电话公司中兴恢复业务,要快速。中国会损失太多工作。商务部已经得到了指示,完成这个工作!”

The president’s tweet provoked a swift and harsh response from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

总统的推文迅速引发了来自两党议员的严厉回应。

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“I hope this isn’t the beginning of backing down to China,” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, wrote on Twitter on Monday. “While Chinese companies have unrestricted access to U.S. market & protection of our laws many U.S. companies have been ruined after #China blocked market access or stole their intellectual property.”

“我希望这不是向中国让步的开始,”佛罗里达的共和党参议员马尔科·卢比奥(Marco Rubio)周一在Twitter上写道。“在中国公司无限制进入美国市场,获得我们法律保护的同时,许多美国企业都在中国封锁市场准入或者窃取了他们的知识产权后被摧毁了。”

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said in a statement: “This leads to the greatest worry, which is that the president will back off on what China fears most — a crackdown on intellectual property theft — in exchange for buying some goods in the short run. That’s a bad deal if there ever was one.”

纽约州参议员、民主党领袖查克·舒默(Chuck Schumer)在一则声明中表示:“这会引发极大的担忧,人们会担心总统会撤回让中国最为害怕的——那就是对窃取知识产权的惩罚——以换取在短期内购买一些商品。如果达成协议的话,那可是一项糟糕的协议。”

A White House spokeswoman walked back the tweet on Sunday, saying that the president expected Mr. Ross to exercise his independent judgment on the ZTE case.

周日,一名白宫发言人对该推文进行了淡化处理,表示总统希望罗斯在中兴案上做出独立判断。

On Monday, Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, denied that accommodating China’s concerns represented a broken promise by Mr. Trump to protect America’s interests, saying that the relationship with China was complex.

周一,白宫发言人拉吉·沙阿(Raj Shah)否认,顾及中国的关切说明特朗普违背了保护美国利益的承诺,并说,美中关系很复杂。

“He’s been tough and he’s confronted them,” Mr. Shah said. “But on this issue, he’s asked the secretary of commerce to take a look at it.”

“他强硬过,也和他们对抗过,”沙阿说。“但对于这个问题,他已经让商务部长去研究。”

In remarks at the National Press Club on Monday, Mr. Ross said that he expected Mr. Liu to bring up ZTE when he traveled to Washington for talks this week, but that the company’s fate should not be linked to the trade negotiations.

周一,在全美新闻俱乐部(National Press Club)的发言中,罗斯说他预计刘鹤本周到访华盛顿时会提及中兴一事,但表示该公司的命运不应当与贸易谈判联系起来。

“Our position has been that is an enforcement action separate from trade,” Mr. Ross said. “ZTE did do some inappropriate things, they admitted to them.”

“我们的立场是,那是与贸易无关的强制措施,”罗斯说。“中兴做了一些不适当的事情,他们也承认了。”

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He added: “The question is are there alternative remedies to the one that we had originally put forward.”

他还补充:“问题在于,除了我们最初提出的措施,是否还有其他替代方案。”

Mr. Trump’s offer to throw a lifeline to ZTE found a receptive audience in Beijing on Monday, a development that could help him strike deals on thorny issues like trade and North Korea. The Chinese reaction underscored the importance that Beijing has placed on ZTE’s survival, and the company’s travails have encapsulated the worries among Chinese leaders that their country depends too much on American technology.

特朗普主动放中兴一马的消息周一时在北京找到了听众,这样的事态发展可助其在贸易和朝鲜等棘手问题上达成协议。中方的反应突显了中兴的存活对北京的重要性,而这家公司的痛苦也蕴含着中国领导层对中国太过于依赖美国科技担忧

“We very much appreciate the positive attitude of the U.S. side to the issue of the ZTE Corporation, and are maintaining close communication with the U.S. on the implementation of specific details,” Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a daily briefing Monday afternoon.

“我们十分赞赏美方对中兴公司问题所作积极表态,正在与美方就落实具体细节保持密切沟通,”中国外交部发言人陆慷周一下午在例行记者会上说道。

Hu Xijin, the chief editor of Global Times, a newspaper owned by the Chinese Communist Party, used his widely followed account on the social media service Weibo to add, “No matter if the previous sanction was a card in Washington’s concerted move for a trade war on China, the newest decision is a good one.”

中国共产党的报纸《环球时报》的总编辑胡锡进在他有着大量粉丝的社交媒体微博账号上补充说,“无论当初那样处罚中兴是否是华盛顿配合对华贸易战打出的一张牌,特朗普总统最新做出的都是个好决定。”

Mr. Trump’s move could also help calm tensions with Beijing ahead of his summit meeting next month in Singapore with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un — Mr. Xi has considerable power to help or disrupt a deal, given North Korea’s economic dependence on China.

在特朗普与朝鲜领导人金正恩下月在新加坡举行首脑会晤之前,他的举动可能也有助于缓和与北京之间的紧张关系——考虑到朝鲜对中国的经济依赖,习近平的助推或干扰都有着相当大的力量。

Still, defending ZTE in a dispute involving Chinese exports to North Korea has been politically awkward for Beijing. Chinese officials believe that their country has been helpful in enforcing international sanctions against North Korea, said one senior Chinese government adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity because of political sensitivities.

尽管如此,在涉及中国对朝出口的争议中维护中兴,从政治角度来说会令北京尴尬。据一位因政治敏感性不愿透露姓名的中国政府高级顾问称,中国官员认为他们的国家在加强对朝国际制裁方面是起到了帮助作用的。

In the days after the ZTE penalty was announced last month, Beijing did not try to defend the company’s ties to Iran or North Korea. ZTE was also castigated in social media by the general public for having spent so little on research and development that it was completely dependent on the United States.

在上个月宣布了对中兴的处罚后,北京并未试图为该公司与伊朗和朝鲜的关系作出辩解。在社交媒体上,中兴也因在研发上投入太少、完全依赖美国而受到了公众舆论的严厉批评。