China: Smaller trade surplus, OK. But tech concessions? No.

Commerce Secretary To Press China To Buy As Allies Seethe Over Tariffs

The desultory end to weekend talks led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and China's top economic official, Vice Premier Liu He, revived worries Beijing and Washington are sliding again toward open conflict.

US President Donald Trump plans to impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese exports. The meeting went ahead despite that but Beijing said it reserved the right to retaliate.

On Sunday, Ross said the two sides discussed specific exports Beijing might buy, but the meeting ended with no commitments.

USA and Chinese negotiators wrapped up their latest round of trade talks without a settlement, with Beijing saying it won't abide by any deal if Washington goes ahead with threatened tariffs.

Those talks produced "positive and concrete" developments, according to a Chinese government statement carried by the official news agency, Xinhua.

James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of global law firm Perkins Coie LLP and former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said China was closely watching the reaction of the European Union and Canada, and was likely to follow their strategy in pushing back on Trump.

But the truce appeared to end with last week's announcement Washington was going ahead with tariff hikes on technology goods and also would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of United States high-tech exports. The discussion was wrapped up after China refused to buy more American goods without a written compromise of not issuing any further tariffs on Chinese exports by Trump administration.

China issued a statement on Sunday following a third round of economic and trade consultations with a visiting U.S. delegation on June 2 and 3. The US and China have threatened each other with $US150 billion in tariffs.

Ross had been expected to seek clear commitments from Beijing to boost Chinese imports of U.S. products in areas such as energy and agriculture. Liu is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and chief of the Chinese side of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue.

United States commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said at the start of the meeting with China's top economic official, vice premier Liu He, that they would discuss specific American exports China might buy.

Mr Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on a total of up to $US150 billion ($198 billion) of Chinese goods.

In earlier negotiations in Washington, Mr. Liu agreed to try to step up purchases of US goods, though without committing to numerical targets sought by the Trump administration.

There was no indication whether the talks also took up American complaints that Beijing steals from or pressures foreign companies.

Trudeau said he wants to respect the government's 30-day consultation period on its proposed $16.6-billion tariff package, retaliation for the Trump administration's decision to impose 25 per cent import duties on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.

The apparent impasse left the Trump administration with the issue of what to do about China's industrial policies.

"Make no mistake about this: China aims to be the world's largest economy, its advocate of free trade, its geopolitical leader", Carl B. Weinberg of High Frequency Economics said in a report.

Trump said last month that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to give ZTE "a way to get back into business, fast".

Mnuchin rejected comments from some G7 officials that the United States was circumventing worldwide trade rules with the tariffs or ceding leadership of a global economic and trading system it largely built after World War Two.

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