China says it made progress in trade talks with the United States but acknowledged that the two sides remain far apart on some issues.
After two days of talks in Beijing between top officials, the two sides have agreed to continue “close communication,” according to a report by China’s official news agency, Xinhua.
The two governments reached agreements in some areas, including increasing exports from the United States to China, Xinhua said, but it didn’t give any details.
“Both sides realized that there are some relatively big differences on some issues. And more work needs to be done to achieve more progress,” Xinhua said Friday.
The US Embassy in Beijing wasn’t immediately available for comment on the outcome of the talks.
Fears of a damaging trade war between the world’s top two economies have grown in recent months after the United States and China threatened to slap steep tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other’s exports.
Last month, the US Department of Commerce banned ZTE from buying product parts from American firms, saying the company lied about punishing employees who violated sanctions against North Korea and Iran.
In a statement Friday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said it had lodged “solemn representations with the US” about ZTE during the Beijing talks.
“Irrespective of any short-term deal … trade friction will be a permanent feature of the next few years,” Richard Jerram, chief economist at the Bank of Singapore, said in a research note on Friday.
President Donald Trump has called for China to reduce its huge trade surplus with the United States by $100 billion, a demand experts say Beijing would find it difficult to meet.
The US government has also been pressing China to move away from an industrial policy that critics say subsidizes Chinese companies on the global stage and pressures foreign rivals to hand over key technologies.
Trump sent a delegation of his top economic advisers to Beijing for the talks, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. They met with a Chinese team led by Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser.
Analysts had expressed skepticism that two days of talks would lead to any significant breakthrough.