U.S. and Chinese officials on Wednesday wrapped up high-level talks without announcing any breakthroughs on the contentious economic issues that divide them.
The daylong talks at the Treasury Department began with prickly comments from both sides. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said the world's two biggest economies need to cooperate and warned that "confrontation will immediately damage the interests of both."
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called for Beijing to provide more access to U.S. firms and to help reduce America's trade deficit with China. He blamed the trade gap — $347 billion in goods last year — on "Chinese government intervention in its economy."
After taking office, the Trump administration reached an agreement with China to continue the high-level meetings that were begun in the George W. Bush administration and continued in the Obama administration.
A one-day session on security issues was held last month. The session Wednesday covered economic issues and included Mnuchin, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer and President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a White House adviser.
In a statement after the meeting, Mnuchin said the two countries agreed to "work cooperatively" to reduce the American trade deficit. Earlier, the two sides had canceled planned news conferences without saying why.
The Trump administration is considering slapping tariffs on steel imports to combat a glut caused largely by massive Chinese production. And Trump has criticized China for not doing enough to pressure North Korea to reign in its nuclear weapons program.