WASHINGTON - U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Wednesday he expects trade actions between the United States and China will likely lead to a negotiated deal, but that it was unclear whether such talks would happen by the end of May or later.
"It wouldn't be surprising at all if the net outcome of all this is some sort of a negotiation," Ross said in an interview with CNBC. "It's very difficult to put a specific time denomination on negotiations that are as complex as these."
Ross' comments come after China slapped retaliatory duties on a number of American products earlier on Wednesday in response to Trump's planned tariffs on Chinese goods, rattling global financial markets.
"I'm frankly a little surprised that Wall Street was so surprised by it. This has been telegraphed for days and weeks," Ross said.
U.S. President Donald Trump earlier Wednesday stood by his administration's actions, tweeting: "We are not in a trade war with China."
Ross echoed those sentiments, telling CNBC that China's response was "relatively proportionate to the tariffs that we put on based on the intellectual property."
He added that he also expected other countries to start "coalescing against China" over its trade practices.