Trump open to extending China trade deadline

13 February, 2019, 07:14 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the delegation

Chinese and United States officials will hold high-level talks this week aimed at halting their damaging trade war.

US officials have said March 1st is a hard deadline, but President Trump has suggested a possible extension if progress was being made.

"If we're close to a deal where we think we can make a real deal and it's going to get done, I could see myself letting that slide for a little while", Mr Trump said referring to the March 1 deadline.

Mnuchin, along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, arrived in the Chinese capital on Tuesday.

"He wants to meet with President Xi very soon", White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Monday on Fox News.

As a result, some aides privately acknowledge the most likely scenario is for the March 1 deadline to be extended, and for tariffs on some $200 billion in Chinese imports not to be raised to 25 percent as Trump has threatened. A round of talks at the end of January ended with some progress reported, but no deal and USA declarations that much more work was needed. Trump had said final resolution of the trade dispute would depend on the meeting with Xi "in the near future" but told reporters it had not yet been arranged.

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If the two sides can not reach a deal by March 1, USA tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

The US has imposed tariffs on $250bn (£193bn) worth of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110bn of US products.

These include accusations of intellectual property theft and forcing American companies to share their technology with Chinese firms.

The next leg of trade talk is due to resume in Beijing on Monday, the 11th of February, which will also be followed by a high-level talk between February 14th and 15th.

US negotiators will likely continue to urge China to make structural reforms and end what the USA claims to be unfair trade practices.

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