Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said on Saturday that China and the United States have agreed to continue trade talks in Beijing as the high-level economic and trade consultations ended in Washington after the latest tariff hike on Chinese goods went into effect from a day earlier.
"The two sides agreed to keep the good momentum of continued consultation, although there are some temporary disturbances and obstructions. Both sides have agreed to meet again in Beijing in the future and continue to push forward the consultations, Xinhua news agency quoted Liu as saying.
"Consultations have not derailed," said Liu, China's chief negotiator in the trade talks. "On the contrary, these are quite normal and it's inevitable to have minor twists and turns in negotiations between two countries since it serves as a test to our ability. We are cautiously optimistic about the future."
Contrary to threats of counter-measures, Liu voiced a measured optimism on reaching a deal but said there were issues of principle on which China would not back down.
"We do have disagreements on issues that we believe are major principled issues and there's no way that we could compromise on these issues. First of all, we resolutely oppose imposing additional tariffs. I think such a move does no good to China, the United States or the world and it is not conducive to resolving bilateral economic and trade issues," he said.
"China as a nation must react to the United States' imposing of additional tariff. However, we do hope that the US shows restraint. China will also restrain itself and both sides should not indefinitely escalate the tension. We need to move ahead step by step," Liu was quoted as saying.
The United States escalated the trade war with China on Friday by hiking tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods in the middle of last-ditch talks to rescue a trade deal.
In addition, US President Donald Trump issued orders for the tariff increase, saying China "broke the deal" by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations.
Meanwhile, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Friday that Trump also ordered to begin the process of "raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, which are valued at approximately $300 billion."
Lighthizer said a final decision has not been made on the new duties, which would come on top of an early Friday tariff rate increase, to 25 per cent from 10 per cent, on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports.