The third round of trade talks between the world's two largest economies appeared to fall short of bridging the gap between Beijing and Washington, which are at loggerheads over Chinese trade and industrial policy practices that US President Donald Trump says kill American jobs.
The White House threw the meeting's status into doubt Tuesday by renewing a threat to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese high-tech goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.
Trump is pressing Beijing to narrow its politically volatile trade surplus with the United States, which reached a record $375.2 billion previous year.
Ross, who was preceded in Beijing this week by more than 50 USA officials, was expected during the two-day visit to try to secure long-term purchases of US farm and energy commodities to help shrink a $375 billion trade deficit with China. CCTV reported Ross and his delegation had an initial meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in the afternoon, and the two sides would hold a formal meeting tomorrow.
Ross gave no details at the start of his meeting Sunday with China's top economic official, Vice Premier Liu He.
The discussions in Beijing, led by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, were meant to ease tensions after Washington said Tuesday it would follow through with tariffs on Chinese imports despite a truce reached between the two sides last month.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said on Saturday that the United States wanted this weekend's talks to result in structural changes to China's economy, in addition to increased Chinese purchases of American goods. "But it is also well prepared".
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The statement was made in the light of the yet another round of US-Chinese trade talks, which began on Saturday and continued through Sunday.
The White House has said it would announce a final list of Chinese imports covered by the U.S. tariffs on June 15, with the other measures to follow later this month.
Other officials and technical experts from the Department of Commerce, Department of Treasury, United States Trade Representative, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Energy also took part, the White House said.
U.S. tensions with China had eased after Beijing promised on May 19 to "significantly increase" purchases of farm goods, energy and other products and services following the last round of talks in Washington.
Beijing has resisted U.S. pressure to commit to a firm target of narrowing its annual surplus with the United States by $200 billion.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday the US wants to see "structural changes" in the Chinese economy. But the truce appeared to end with this week's announcement Washington was going ahead with tariff increases on technology goods and would also impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of USA hi-tech exports.
Those hard issues include what the US complains is rampant theft of intellectual property, as well as Beijing's support for cutting-edge technologies under its Made in China 2025 policy. "By definition that will deal with the trade deficit", he added.