USA officials arrive in China for trade talks as deadline looms

USA officials arrive in China for trade talks as deadline looms

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he could see letting the March 1 deadline for reaching a trade agreement with China slide a little, but that he would prefer not to and expects to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to close the deal at some point.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the US delegation for the third round of talks on Thursday and Friday in Beijing. But the two sides are only just starting the work of drafting a common document and are still tussling over how a deal may be enforced, which US officials have repeatedly called a crucial element.

White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said a meeting was still possible soon, telling Fox News Channel that Trump wants a deal with China, but it must be "fair to Americans, and American workers and American interests".

The fact that a presidential-level meeting is still in the cards - and that both sides are now reportedly angling for it to happen in mid-to-late March - means that the 90 days of trade talks are likely to be extended past the March 2 deadline.

Those tariffs now stand at 10 percent, but an additional $50 billion worth of imports has already been hit by a 25 percent tariff.




The last round of talks in Washington late last month resulted in China importing American soybeans as it implemented promises to buy more US goods.

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

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

China's economy already has shown signs of slowing, while the trade war has shaken the confidence of United States businesses, as retaliatory tariffs have raised prices and helped choke off a key export market.

Both the Chinese government and Huawei have dismissed these concerns.

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