WASHINGTON, May 1 - US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday that President Donald Trump does not intend to trade away US jobs for China's help on North Korea, adding that there are "constructive" talks with Beijing underway on trade issues.
In an interview with CNBC, Ross rowed back from Trump's comments in a CBS interview on Saturday that China's help on North Korea "trumps trade."
Asked if the need for China's help to contain threats from North Korea had made it more difficult to be tough with Beijing on trade issues, Ross said he did not think so.
"We've been having some very constructive discussions on trade with the Chinese in parallel" to discussions on North Korea, Ross told CNBC.
"I think what the president was trying to say is that we're trying to have an overall constructive relationship with China on a variety of topics, the most pressing of which, because it directly involves human lives, is the North Korea situation. I don't think he meant to indicate at all that he intends to trade away American jobs just for help on North Korea," Ross said.