China has warned any agreements with Washington in their talks on settling a sprawling trade dispute "will not take effect" if threatened USA sanctions including tariff hikes go ahead.
China has warned that the United States that the outcome of trade talks will be void if Washington imposes trade sanctions including tariffs on Chinese goods, state media reported Sunday quoting a government statement issued at the end of two-day high-level talks between Chinese and U.S. trade officials.
The Chinese statement said the two sides made "positive and concrete progress", but neither side released details.
"To meet the people's ever-growing needs for a better life and the requirements of high-quality economic development, China is willing to increase imports from other countries, including the United States, which will benefit people of both countries and the rest of the world", the statement said.
U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, left, with Chinese vice premier Liu He after their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China on Sunday.
Washington's negotiating stance in the trade talks with Beijing has shifted as Trump's team of hardliners and more mainstream advisors compete to push their views. On Sunday, he is expected to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing's lead negotiator in the trade dispute. But this time no joint statement was issued.
President Donald Trump is pressing Beijing to narrow its multibillion-dollar trade surplus and is threatening to hike duties on up to $150 billion of Chinese imports.
"Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items", said Ross at the opening of Sunday's meeting.
No formal trade deals came out of that meeting, but China agreed last month to "significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services", according to a White House statement.
The purchases are partly aimed at shrinking the $375 billion United States goods trade deficit with China.
USA treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday 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.
Trump also has threatened to raise tariffs on an additional $100 billion of Chinese goods, but gave no indication this week whether that would go ahead.
Mr Ross was accompanied by agriculture, treasury and trade officials for the meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, a leafy compound on Beijing's west side.
Trade analysts had warned Ross's hand might be weakened by the Trump administration's decision Thursday to go ahead with tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Europe and Mexico.
Those hard issues include what the USA complains is rampant theft of intellectual property, as well as Beijing's support for cutting-edge technologies under its Made in China 2025 policy.
"I want to be clear, this isn't just about buying more goods, this is about structural changes", Mnuchin said.