TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Sunday he had been having frank, useful talks in China about exports, as Washington presses home its message to Beijing about structural economic changes amid a festering trade dispute.
Ross arrived in Beijing on Saturday for trade talks after the Trump administration renewed tariff threats against China, and with key U.S. allies in a foul mood toward Washington after they were hit with duties on steel and aluminum.
Addressing Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Ross said it had been a great pleasure to spend Saturday with him, when they had dinner together.
“Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items,” Ross said, in brief comments before reporters.
Liu spoke only to welcome Ross.
Neither man has made any other comments to the media.
Liu, a Harvard-trained economist who is a trusted confidant of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is China’s chief negotiator in the trade dispute.
U.S. 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.
The purchases are partly aimed at shrinking the $375 billion U.S. goods trade deficit with China.
Mnuchin, speaking at a G7 finance leaders meeting in Canada where he was the target of U.S. allies’ anger over steel and aluminum tariffs, said the China talks would cover other issues, including the Trump administration’s desire to eliminate Chinese joint venture requirements and other policies that effectively force technology transfers.