Ross says U.S. and China are `pretty far apart' in trade talks

Frederick Owens
May 12, 2018

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said yesterday that China has noted the announcement of the White House, and that United States expectations of reaching consensus with China on trade issues showed a "positive signal".

Chinese President Xi Jinping told USA counterpart Donald Trump that the two sides should keep trying to solve trade disputes through talks during a phone call on Tuesday.

This story is developing.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week led a delegation of seven top economic advisers, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, to Beijing for a two-day visit with a team of Chinese counterparts led by Vice-Premier Liu He.

DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The two leaders spoke after high-level US and Chinese officials in Beijing last week failed to reach a consensus, with talks set to resume next week in Washington.

Liu told American business leaders while visiting Washington earlier this year that he'd take steps to reform China's economy, according to a person familiar with the situation.

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"Nonetheless, Washington's bottom line seems to be ending China's industrial policy and I see virtually no way Beijing is going to agree to that".

Stakes in the negotiations are high. "Bad news is we're pretty far apart at this point in time", he said.

This compilation image shows AFP file photos of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping. China's communist leaders have countered by outlining $50 billion in USA goods that they would target with retaliatory duties on goods including aircraft and soybeans.

On North Korea, both sides reiterated the need to denuclearise the country.

"The two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest, including recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and President Xi's meeting today with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un", the White House said in a readout.

This would be the second high-level meeting since a bilateral trade dispute escalated in March.

China has joined a US -led campaign to sanction North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

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