China said Thursday it is in discussions with the U.S. on the first phase of a trade deal that could include a rollback of tariffs.
Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing that tariff cancellation is an "important condition" for an agreement.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that a trade deal with China was "close," but warned he would raise tariffs "substantially" on Chinese goods if an agreement is not reached.
Both countries said last week they agreed to roll back tariffs, but Trump later denied an agreement had been reached.
Trump has imposed stiff tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods to force changes in China's trade and industrial policies, including an end to China's theft and forced transfer of U.S. intellectual property.
The U.S. also wants Beijing to curb subsidies to state-owned enterprises and grant American companies greater access to China's markets.
Trump planned to sign a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit in Chile this month but the summit was canceled, and other meetings between the two leaders has not been announced.