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The United States hopes to relaunch trade talks with China after President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping meet in Japan but Washington will not accept any conditions on tariffs, a senior administration official says.

The two sides could agree not to impose new tariffs as a goodwill gesture to get negotiations going, the official said on Tuesday, but it was unclear if that would happen.

The United States was not willing to come to the Xi meeting with concessions, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Trump and Xi will sit down together at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Osaka, the first time they have done so since trade talks between the world’s two largest economies broke down in May.

Trump advisers have said no broad trade deal is expected to be made at the meeting but they hope to create a path forward for talks as the two powers remain locked in a trade war that has pummelled global markets and hurt the world economy.

Once the talks resume, they could take months or even years to complete, the senior administration official said on Tuesday.

The US has made clear it wants China to go back to the position it held in a draft trade agreement that was nearly completed before Beijing baulked at some of its terms, particularly requirements to change its laws on key issues.

Washington wants China to change a series of practices, including on intellectual property and requirements that US companies share their technology with Chinese companies in order to do business there.

The official said Trump and Xi were unlikely to get into the fine details of the draft trade pact although the case of Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies may come up during the talks.

Washington already has imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $US250 billion ($A359 billion) of Chinese goods, ranging from semi-conductors to furniture, that are imported into the US.

Trump has threatened to put tariffs on another $US325 billion of goods, covering nearly all the remaining Chinese imports into the US, including consumer products such as mobile phones, computers and clothing.

The president has spoken optimistically about the chances of a deal. The administration official said rounds of meetings led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, likely would begin again after the G20 summit.

The official said that although the vice premier still led China’s trade delegation, new names had been added to the list who could be hardliners.