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White House denies reports of canceled trade meeting

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A top White House aide flatly rejected media reports on Tuesday that Washington had canceled a trade meeting ahead of next week's high-level talks with Chinese officials.

[WASHINGTON] A top White House aide flatly rejected media reports on Tuesday that Washington had canceled a trade meeting ahead of next week's high-level talks with Chinese officials.

The reports by the Financial Times and CNBC earlier sent US stocks sharply lower, reviving fears that efforts to resolve the US-China trade war could fail.

But National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC that such reports were false.

"With respect, the story is not true," Mr Kudlow said.

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"There was never a planned meeting that was canceled."

Stock prices recovered some of their losses following Mr Kudlow's remarks shortly after 2030 GMT. Wall Street had already been in the red due to downgraded global economic forecasts.

Soy and corn futures also fell on fears Beijing was less likely to resume imports.

According to both media outlets, US officials had cited 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 - and cancelled plans for a face-to-face preparatory meeting this week.

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.

Last year, the Chinese economy 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.

AFP