The surprise U.S. move has raised questions about whether the talks with Ross will go ahead.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro gave a rare public rebuke of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for declaring the USA trade war with China was on hold, calling it an "unfortunate sound bite" and acknowledging there's a dispute that needs to be resolved.
The trade tensions began with President Trump imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the US,. with China striking back with additional tariffs on 128 USA products.
The announcement is another apparent change of course for Trump, who veers from harsh threats to promises of compromise and back again on trade and other sensitive issues.
After a second round of talks in Washington earlier this month, . the US and China issued a joint statement vowing not to launch a trade war against each other, .as Beijing agreed to "significantly increase" its purchases of American goods and services to reduce its massive trade deficit with the U.S.
Speaking at a regular press briefing on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying slammed the latest development.
"In worldwide relations, an about-face or constant change of positions is bound to damage or squander a country's credibility", Hua said.
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She urged the U.S. to "follow the spirit" of the recent consensus reached between Washington and Beijing, to abandon trade wars and back off imposing tariffs on each other.
This after the USA decided on Tuesday that it will impose a hefty 25-percent tariff on 50-billion dollars' worth of Chinese goods containing "industrially significant" technology.
Just over a week ago, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the trade war with China was "on hold".
"If the United States insists on acting arbitrarily and recklessly, China will take firm and powerful measures to safeguard its own legitimate rights", Hua said. The full list of products affected will be announced by June 15 and the tariffs will be implemented "shortly thereafter", according to the administration.
Trump has also threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods if Beijing retaliates. He said the two countries were in talks and had made "meaningful progress".
While US tariffs would have a direct impact on China's economy, such uncertainty would likely have an even greater indirect impact as it came to affect consumption, investment confidence and financial markets, he explained. His comments, following meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser, fueled expectations that both sides would be able to settle their differences through negotiations.