China's foreign ministry says Chinese negotiators are preparing to travel to the United States for their next round of trade talks, after U.S. President Donald Trump complained the process was taking too long and threatened higher tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Monday that China was "trying to get more information" about Trump's comments about new tariffs.
Geng did not specify whether Vice Premier Liu He, China's top trade negotiator, was among those preparing to make the trip to Washington this week.
Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter: "The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!"
He followed that Monday with more complaints about trade imbalances.
"The United States has been losing, for many years, 600 to 800 Billion Dollars a year on Trade. With China we lose 500 Billion Dollars. Sorry, we’re not going to be doing that anymore!"
He said he will raise existing 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent, and to impose new tariffs on another $325 billion of other products.
For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 Billions Dollars....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2019
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed last December to forestall new tariffs while the talks were going on, but it was not clear how Trump's announcement would affect the negotiations, set to resume in Washington on Wednesday.
Stock markets were down in both countries Monday, with the Shanghai Composite falling more than 5 percent and futures on Wall Street down more than 1 percent ahead of that market's opening.
Washington and Beijing have engaged in reciprocal tariff hikes over the last year while negotiators have engaged in lengthy trade talks, alternating negotiations between the two capitals.
Despite an initial goal of finishing by March 1, the two countries have continued to debate several issues, but have yet to complete a deal. Both sides, representing the world's two biggest economies, have said progress is being made.
The two countries have been trying to resolve disputes over intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers. It is not clear whether the tariffs both countries have imposed will remain in place if an agreement is reached.