U.S. and Chinese officials ended two days of talks on Thursday with no major breakthrough as their trade war escalated with activation of another round of dueling tariffs on $16 billion worth of each country's goods.
"We concluded two days of discussions with counterparts from China and exchanged views on how to achieve fairness, balance, and reciprocity in the economic relationship," White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a brief emailed statement.
The discussions included "addressing structural issues in China," including its intellectual property and technology transfer policies, Walters said.
The mid-level Trump administration officials participating in the talks would brief the heads of their agencies on the discussions, she added.
Implementation of the latest 25 percent tariffs on Thursday did not derail the talks, led by U.S. Treasury Under Secretary David Malpass and Chinese Commerce Vice Minister Wang Shouwen. They were the first face-to-face U.S.-China meetings since early June to try to find a way out of a deepening trade conflict and escalating tariffs.
Earlier, a senior Trump administration official downplayed chances for success, saying China had yet to address U.S. complaints about alleged misappropriation of U.S. intellectual property and industrial subsidies.
"In order for us to get a positive result out of these engagements, it's really critical that they (China) address the fundamental concerns that we have raised," the official said on a press call on the new U.S. security review law for foreign acquisitions. "We haven't seen that yet, but we are going to continue to encourage them to address problems that we have raised."
In a brief statement on Friday, the Chinese commerce ministry said both sides had a "constructive" and "candid" exchange over trade issues, and will stay in touch on the next steps.
A spokeswoman at China's embassy in Washington could not immediately be reached for comment.
China's Commerce Ministry said in Beijing that it has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the latest round of U.S. tariffs. The two countries have now targeted $50 billion of each other's goods and threatened duties on most of the rest of their bilateral trade, raising concerns that the conflict could dent global economic growth.
Trump administration officials have been divided over how hard to press Beijing, but the White House appears to believe it is winning the trade war as China's economy slows and its stock markets tumble.
Economists reckon that every $100 billion of imports hit by tariffs would reduce global trade by around 0.5 percent.
They have assumed a direct impact on China's economic growth in 2018 of 0.1 to 0.3 percentage point, and somewhat less for the United States, but the impact will be bigger next year, along with collateral damage for other countries and companies tied into China's global supply chains.