China and the United States are in close contact over trade, and any US trade delegation would be welcome to visit, a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman said.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping this month agreed to a truce that delayed the planned January 1st US increase of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods while they negotiate a trade deal.

China has agreed to cut tariffs on US-built cars and autoparts to 15% from 40%, a Trump administration official said, setting the stage for new talks aimed at easing the dispute between the world's two largest economies.

China's tariff cut was communicated during a phone call between Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the official said.

Both sides are in touch, said Gao Feng, spokesman at the Chinese commerce ministry, when asked at a regular news briefing about details of the telephone conversation on Tuesday.

"Both sides exchanged views on the timetable and road map for next steps," said Gao, who was also asked if China was planning to send a delegation to the United States to discuss trade.

"At this time, both sides are in close contact. China welcomes the US side to come to China for consultations, and also is open to visiting the United States for talks," he said.

Separately, China on Wednesday bought at least 500,000 tonnes of US soybeans in its first major purchase of the oil seed since Trump and Xi struck their trade truce in talks in Argentina, traders said.

"Soybeans have always been an important import product from the United States," said Gao. "We have a huge domestic market demand."