The newspaper noted that China alone is responsible for roughly two thirds of the U.S. trade deficit.
The White House has pledged to “unilaterally rebalance what it brands as unfair bilateral terms of trade,” differing from the rest of the G-20 countries that advocate for global platforms to resolve imbalances.
“The vast majority pointed out that we need free, but also fair, trade,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, according to the Journal. “The discussions on this are very difficult,” Merkel said.
But it wasn’t Trump’s only defiant position at the summit, as 19 of the 20 countries present – with the U.S. being the only exception – committing to the Paris climate agreement.
European leaders warned the president that they would retaliate against protectionist measures from his administration, the Journal said.
The gathering of 20 industrialized nations concluded Saturday, with Trump returning to the U.S. after a dramatic weekend with world leaders.