China on Thursday extended the latest gesture of goodwill in its trade dispute with the United States, as the world’s two largest economies prepare for high-level trade talks.
Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said China was looking into purchasing U.S. agricultural goods such as pork and soybeans.
Gao said China welcomed goodwill actions from the Trump administration, and that it hoped the two sides would continue to create favorable conditions for the trade negotiations.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was postponing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15.
He said on Twitter that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had asked for the delay because of celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1.
Trump’s announcement came after China said earlier Wednesday it is exempting a handful of U.S. products from the next round of its sanctions set to begin Sept. 17. They include shrimp, a cancer-fighting machine, industrial grease and assorted chemicals.
Mid-level negotiators plan to meet later this month to prepare for the first high-level trade talks between the United States and China since July.
The talks are set to open next month in Washington.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he is "cautiously optimistic" a deal could be reached to resolve the trade dispute at the upcoming talks, but warned Trump stands ready to keep, or even raise, tariffs on Chinese imports.
"The president is a negotiator, and he is prepared to keep these tariffs in place. He's prepared to raise tariffs, if we need to raise tariffs," Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC.
U.S. Representative Rick Larsen, a Democrat from Washington state, said in an interview with VOA that the U.S. and China were compelled to reach a trade agreement.
"I think that the two largest economies in the world are stuck with each other. And we're not going to tear ourselves away from each other," Larsen said. "Even if we wanted to, we won't, because we can't. So we need to find a new accommodation that recognizes the areas where we compete and recognizes the areas where we must cooperate. That is what the two largest economies in the world need to do right now."
The series of tariffs on a large number of products the United States and China buy from each other has rattled investors and made consumers uneasy with the outlook of higher prices.
Trump has long accused China of intellectual property theft and manipulating its currency to make its goods cheaper than American products on the world market.
China says U.S. trade policies are aimed at trying to stifle its ability to compete.