May 10, 2018 / 2:59 AM / a year ago

China won't change stance on trade talks with U.S.: China commerce ministry

FILE PHOTO: National flags of the U.S. and China are seen in front of an international hotel in Beijing January 17, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - China won’t change its opposition to protectionism in its ongoing bilateral trade negotiations with the United States, its commerce ministry spokesman said on Thursday, even as a top Beijing official is expected to visit Washington soon for talks.

Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said during a regular briefing the United States and China are currently preparing the next round of discussions. A U.S. trade delegation visited Beijing last week for talks but left without significant progress in resolving an escalating trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

“The United States must put away its threatening stick. China’s position has not changed and will not change,” Gao said. He said China opposed protectionism and unilateralism in trade relations.

Beijing has previously said it will not negotiate on its core interests, though it has not clearly defined what those are.

“We hope that China-U.S. trade relations can become a powerful driving force for sustained growth of the global economy.”

China on Wednesday confirmed that Vice Premier Liu He will visit the U.S. to discuss trade at an appropriate time.

Reporting by Elias Glenn; writing by Se Young Lee and Kevin Yao; Editing by Sam Holmes

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