Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, admitted that the trade war created questions and anxieties among business owners. "If the policy talks don't, it may deteriorate", Kudlow said.
"But we are stuck with a lot of foreign unfair trading practices, which have been harmful to the USA workforce and the economy", he said at a Washington Post event on small businesses.
The upbeat message at their meeting in Beijing came amid concerns that the US-China trade dispute will drag on, hurting company profits and the overall US economy. Beijing would be unwilling to risk jeopardising its improving relations with Pyongyang and as a result had "very few tools to work with", he said.
According to a report by state broadcaster CCTV, Li said China and the USA had benefited from cooperation, and that they should respect each other's core interests and concerns. "They very much want to make a deal".
During the meeting, the officials also agreed to reform World Trade Organization rules that are no longer effective to tackle practices that distort global trade.
Asian stocks recovered Friday on a report by Bloomberg saying that US President Donald Trump had asked officials to draft terms for a potential trade deal with China following a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. "I look forward to seeing what's in there regarding trade", he said. But Kudlow cautioned that Trump would "aggressively" pursue his agenda against China if no deals were reached on intellectual property theft, cybersecurity and tariffs on commodities, among other issues.
"Those discussions are moving along nicely", Trump wrote on Twitter.
The world's two biggest economies are locked in a dispute over US complaints that China is using predatory tactics in a drive to supplant American technological dominance.
Speaking at a meeting with a group of visiting U.S. congressmen led by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Premier Li Keqiang said he hoped the two sides "will meet each other halfway and work together in the spirit of mutual respect and equality".