The damage from the trade war to USA businesses in China includes lost profits, higher manufacturing costs and lower demand for their products, according to the survey of more than 430 companies in industries ranging from technology to health care.
Christopher McNally, an adjunct senior fellow at the East-West Centre in Hawaii, said the Trump administration may seek a deal on the trade war before the elections, though he cautioned that the United States president could easily throw out any negotiated settlement if he felt it did not "help him politically or doesn't go far enough, doesn't make him look good enough". "We may think that China's rise may be bad for the USA, that China is a strategic competitor. but the moment China's growth rate declines, we will regret it", he said at the Milken Institute's annual Asia Summit in Singapore.
Mr. Trump threatened to increase that number by another $267 billion to bring the total tariffs to an amount equal to all of China's annual exports to the U.S. The administration already imposed tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods, slapped tariffs on aluminum (10 percent) and steel (25 percent), and raised duties on washing machines (up to 50 percent) and solar panels (up to 30 percent). "And so, Secretary Mnuchin, who is the team leader with China, has apparently issued an invitation".
But Kudlow was non-committal over the chances of a breakthrough, adding: "I guarantee nothing". A meeting among cabinet-level officials could ease market worries over the escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world's two largest economies and raise costs for companies and consumers.
Envoys from the two countries last met August 22 in Washington but reported no progress.
One of the highest-profile casualties of the trade war was USA chipmaker Qualcomm's (QCOM) $44 billion acquisition of Dutch rival NXP Semiconductors (NXPI), which China killed in July by refusing to grant it regulatory approval.
Also Thursday, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said one in six of its members that responded to a survey are delaying investment or expansion.
The Trump administration is preparing to activate tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, hitting a broad array of internet technology products and consumer goods from handbags to bicycles to furniture.
"I believe both countries would not be willing to see such a situation", ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday.
"This survey affirms our concerns: tariffs are already negatively impacting US companies and the imposition of a proposed $200-billion tranche will bring a lot more pain", said Eric Zheng, chairman of AmCham Shanghai.
The invitation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Businesses are ratcheting up lobbying against tariffs that the Trump administration has imposed, or is considering.
Zoom out from the automotive sector, and more than 60% of American companies in China said they have been affected by the tit-for-tat spat.
A day earlier, more than 60 US industry groups launched a coalition - Americans for Free Trade - to take the fight against the tariffs public.
They are already affecting companies, particularly the automobile industry, and hurting economies.
The Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily, cautioned against seeing the invitation from Washington as a sign that the Trump administration had softened its stance.