Ross arrived in Beijing on Saturday morning for trade talks with Chinese officials, after the Trump administration renewed its tariff threats against China, and with key United States allies in a foul mood towards Washington after they were hit with duties on steel and aluminium.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is expected to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Sunday for talks as officials from the world's two biggest economies try to calm an escalating trade spat that has rattled financial markets.
At the same time as negotiators focus on technical steps to reduce the US deficit, Trump's swerve has rattled Beijing as it raises the possibility that any agreement made could be simply torn up by the president.
The United States and China seemed to have reached a breakthrough previously, only for that agreement to come quickly undone. Liu is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and chief of the Chinese side of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue. China says the trade deficit is around United States dollars 200 billion.
The purchases are meant to reduce America's trade deficit in goods and services with China, which previous year came to $337 billion, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Critics say that the deal risks making the US a supplier of raw materials to fuel China's expansion and plans to dominate high-tech manufacturing. Previously, the Chinese government had agreed to increase its purchases of us agriculture and energy products in a bid to decrease the trade deficit.
A Chinese government statement said the talks in Beijing "produced positive and concrete developments" but it didn't provide details.
Ross was accompanied by agricultural, treasury and trade officials.
Xinhua said China's attitude had been consistent and that it was willing to increase imports from all countries, including the United States.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire even referred to the bloc as G6+1 as an indication of the deepening rift.
The USA has threatened to impose tariffs on as much as $50 billion of Chinese language merchandise in a dispute over Beijing's aggressive techniques to problem U.S. technological dominance; Trump has requested U.S. Commerce Rep. Robert Lighthizer to search for one other $100 billion in Chinese language merchandise to tax.
The formation of the World Trade Organization and the advent of trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement among the U.S., Mexico and Canada reduced tariffs or eliminated them altogether.
China is maneuvering to take advantage of rebukes from US allies following the Trump administration's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico, and European Union.
"We should raise our innovation capacity in the new round of opening up and see that all intellectual property be fully protected", Li said.
They are particularly anxious about "Made in China 2025", a program which will pump hundreds of billions of dollars into high-tech industries like robotics and electric cars with the aim of making China a global leader.
It could help alleviate some of the trade tensions between the Trump administration and China.
But Mr. Trump upended the truce last Tuesday by renewing his threat to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese high-tech goods.
Analysts say that the statement could have been designed as a bargaining tactic aimed at increasing pressure on China ahead of Sunday's meeting, amid criticism at home that Mr Trump is going soft on China. The 50-member strong U.S. raised topics including additional Chinese purchases of United States exports.