China says it hasn’t offered to cut its trade surplus with the US by $200 billion

Finance news

China has not offered to cut its trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion, contrary to reports, China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that the claims were not true while speaking at a daily news briefing about the ongoing trade talks between the world’s two largest economies, according to Reuters.

Various news outlets, citing anonymous sources, reported Thursday that China offered to meet President Donald Trump’s demand of the trade surplus cut, which included increased purchases of American goods.

“This rumor is not true. This I can confirm to you,” the spokesman told the press. “As I understand, the relevant consultations are ongoing and they are constructive,” he added, without going into further detail.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is in Washington with a delegation this week for talks with Trump administration officials aimed at easing trade tensions between Beijing and the White House. The negotiations, led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, follow a separate round of meetings in Beijing earlier this month.

Trump has long criticized China’s widening trade surplus with the U.S., and in March set off a trade spat by proposing import tariffs on a number of Chinese goods. The move sparked a tit-for-tat dispute with a series of threats from each country that proposed hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tariffs on each other’s goods. This triggered fears of a global trade war.

China’s trade deficit with the U.S. in 2017 was $375 billion, during which U.S. imports from China were $506 billion while its exports to China were only $130 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.