A U.S. delegation led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held talks with Chinese negotiators in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday. "If the USA imposes tariffs on Chinese products, the Chinese side may announce retaliatory measures on American products as well". 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 USA high-tech exports.
Private sector analysts say that while Beijing is willing to compromise on its trade surplus, it will resist changes that might threaten plans to transform China into a global technology competitor.
No joint statement was issued at the end of Sunday's meeting in Beijing, and there has been no response to the Chinese comments by the usa side.
US President Donald Trump threw the status of the talks into doubt by renewing a threat to raise tariffs on US$50 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.
The two countries have threatened tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth up to $150bn each. "These talks have produced positive and concrete developments, though details are still being finalized".
Earlier, China responded to Trump's tariff threat by saying if it went ahead, Beijing would retaliate by raising import duties on a $50 billion list of American goods including soybeans and small aircraft.
He said Washington would use its move on Tuesday to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese imports as a bargaining chip. China's willingness to buy more American products and allow USA investments with IPR protections raised hopes of an agreement, which led to current round of talks in Beijing.More news: USA planning to impose steel, aluminum tariff on EU
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Ross left Beijing for Washington early Sunday evening.
"Tariffs and expanding exports - the United States can't have both", it said. But Chinese envoys promised after the last high-level meeting in Washington in mid-May to buy more American farm goods and energy products. "This is about structural changes", Mnuchin said Saturday.
Gai Xinzhe, an analyst at Bank of China's finance institute in Beijing, told Bloomberg that "China is concerned over the U.S.'s unpredictability, especially after Trump turned an about-face on tariffs".
Ross, who was preceded in Beijing last week by more than 50 USA officials, had been expected during the two-day visit to try to secure long-term purchases of US farm and energy commodities to help shrink the USA trade deficit.
United States leverage against China appears to have been weakened by a sour mood among U.S. allies after Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico. Although the Chinese refused to agree to specific numerical targets that the Trump administration officials sought, the agreement to a broad framework to increase USA exports to China was enough to prompt Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to announce that a truce in the "trade war".
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.
The U.S. team also wants to secure greater intellectual property protection and an end to Chinese subsidies that have contributed to overproduction of steel and aluminum.