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The United States has rejected Beijing’s offer to hold preparatory talks in Washington ahead of next week’s high-level trade delegation, according to media reports on Tuesday.
The reports by The Financial Times and CNBC sent US stocks sharply lower, reviving fears that efforts to resolve the US-China trade war could fail.
Citing a lack of progress on some of the thorniest issues in the trade dispute – including allegedly forced technology transfers and structural reforms to China’s economy – Washington cancelled plans for a face-to-face preparatory meeting this week, according to The Times.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is due to travel to the United States next week as the two sides work to resolve their disagreements by March 1, when a 90-day truce is due to expire, allowing US import duties on Chinese goods to increase sharply.
The US Treasury Department and Office of the US Trade Representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Chinese economy last year posted its slowest annual growth in nearly three decades, according to official figures published Monday in Beijing. 
The trade war has weighed heavily on the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy. 
Already lower due to downgraded global economic forecasts, Wall Street fell even further after the reports were published, with the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.6 percent shortly before 2000 GMT.
Soy and corn futures also fell on fears Beijing was less likely to resume imports.