BEIJING (Sputnik) – Media reports about the cancellation of preparatory trade talks between China and the United States are false, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said on Thursday.
“As for the reports on the cancellation of consultations between China and the United States on trade and economic issues, they are not true”, Gao Feng said during the briefing.
The official noted that the working groups of the two countries are in constant close contact.
“In early January, in Beijing, during the consultations, the parties exchanged the information thoroughly. The next round of high-level negotiations will be based on it”, Gao Feng said, adding that the main topics for discussion will revolve around the consensus reached by the two countries’ leaders.
At the same time, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross claimed that the two countries still have a long way to go before they can resolve a months-long tariff dispute.
We would like to make a deal but it has to be a deal that will work for both parties,” Ross told CNBC. “We’re miles and miles from getting a resolution.”
He added that the Trump administration would need to impose “structural reforms” and “penalties” before Washington could resume normal trade relations with Beijing.
The comment of Beijing comes after Financial Times has reported on Wednesday that two Chinese vice-ministers planned to travel to the United States this week to conduct preparatory talks before a higher-level meeting scheduled for January 30 in Washington.
However, according to the UK newspaper, the US authorities cancelled the visit of Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen and Vice-Minister of Finance Liao Min due to lack of progress in a discussion on forced technology transfers and structural reforms to China’s economy.
China and the United States have been engaged in a trade war since US President Donald Trump announced in June that $50 billion worth of Chinese goods would be subject to 25 percent tariffs in a bid to fix the US trade deficit. Since then, the two countries have exchanged several rounds of trade tariffs, levying duties on hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.
In early December, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a truce in their escalating trade war after meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, but the two countries have yet to reach a final agreement in their dispute.