US commerce chief to hold trade talks in China next week

Beijing, ChinaUpdated: May 25, 2018, 12:20 PM IST
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File photo of US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Photograph:(Others)

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will visit Beijing next week to resume talks with Chinese officials, state media said Friday, as the two sides seek to avoid a trade war.

Ross's June 2-4 visit was confirmed in a phone call with China's point man on economic matters, Vice Premier Liu He, on Friday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Liu visited Washington last week for high-level talks that ended with the world's two biggest economies agreeing to back off slapping tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods.

Both sides have extended olive branches since the weekend, with China announcing on Tuesday that it will cut auto import tariffs from July 1.

For his part, President Donald Trump said his administration could impose a new fine of as much as $1.3 billion on embattled Chinese telecom company ZTE to replace crippling sanctions imposed last month that threatened to put the firm out of business.

At the same time, Trump said he was "not satisfied" with the recent talks.

The Chinese commerce ministry denied on Thursday that it had set a target to cut its trade surplus with the United States, though it said Beijing would seek to increase US imports.

Chinese officials were reported to have offered to slash the country's huge surplus by $200 billion -- meeting a key Washington demand -- by ramping up imports from the United States.

That was followed on Monday by President Donald Trump tweeting that China will buy "massive amounts" of additional American agriculture products.