Trump says could let deadline for inking trade deal with China slide


Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrived in Beijing on Tuesday and are scheduled to hold talks on Thursday and Friday with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Xi.

While China has offered to buy more U.S. soybeans and beef, officials have yet even to agree on a draft of a deal that would address key United States concerns, according to media reports.

If a deal is not reached by the beginning of next month then Washington is set to more than double tariffs on 200 billion dollars-worth of Chinese imports.

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would consider extending the deadline for a trade deal with China beyond March 1.

"I could see myself letting that slide for a little while", Trump of the March 2 deadline. Last week, Trump said that he would not meet Xi before the deadline, but further planning for a summit had not been reported.

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Investors will be looking to see if both sides can hammer out a deal before a March 1st deadline to avert higher USA tariffs on Chinese goods. However, amid pressure from the business community for the two sides to resolve the dispute, CNBC cited a senior administration official saying the March 1 deadline could be pushed back. China would likely respond by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S goods that it announced previous year in retaliation.

Washington is expected to keep pressing Beijing on long-standing demands that it make sweeping structural reforms to protect American companies' intellectual property, or IP, end policies aimed at forcing the transfer of technology to Chinese companies, and curb industrial subsidies.

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

Negotiators from the two countries are meeting this week in Beijing, with USA officials pressing China to commit to deeper reforms to a state-driven economic model that they say hurts American companies.

But US stock markets were less enthusiastic about prospects for a deal, with any optimism overshadowed by concerns about another government shutdown and a diminished 2019 US corporate earnings outlook.