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FILE PHOTO: A Chinese woman adjusts a Chinese national flag next to U.S. national flags before a Strategic Dialogue expanded meeting, part of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing’s top priority in any phase one trade deal with the United States is the removal of existing tariffs on Chinese goods, China’s Global Times newspaper reported on Sunday, amid uncertainty on whether the two sides can end a 17-month trade war that has depressed global growth.

“Sources with direct knowledge of the trade talks told the Global Times on Saturday that the U.S. must remove existing tariffs, not planned tariffs, as part of the deal,” according to the report.

Global Times, published by the official People’s Daily newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, also cited another unidentified source close to the talks as saying U.S. officials had been resisting such a demand because the tariffs were their only weapon in the trade war and giving up that weapon meant “surrender.”

Officials with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the U.S. Treasury Department did not reply to a request for comment.

The United States is poised to impose an additional 15% tariff on about $156 billion of Chinese products on Dec. 15. It is widely expected that those tariffs will be averted if a deal is struck, but China is pressing for rollbacks of previous tariffs.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington was in the “final throes” of a deal aimed at defusing the trade war with China, a few days after Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for a trade agreement. Top trade negotiators for both countries also spoke again and agreed to keep

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