Donald Trump open to China trade deadline extension

Gladys Abbott
February 14, 2019

The US officials and their Chinese counterparts meet for talks on Thursday and Friday. She argued that her nation has "always respected and safeguarded freedom of navigation and flight based on global laws in the South China Sea, but resolutely opposes any country falsely using these [to] harm the sovereignty and security of coastal countries".

Lighthizer and Mnuchin were seen arriving at a Beijing hotel on Tuesday. Representatives from the USTR's office and Treasury could not immediately be reached to comment on the report. A ceasefire, agreed to allow for discussions with a view to brokering a permanent truce, is due to expire on March 1.

Trump met with Liu at the White House when a Chinese delegation came to Washington for talks at the end of January. Extending the deadline could pave the way for a potential deal-clinching meeting with President Xi Jinping. There have already been two high-profile meetings between the two countries since the start of the year, though the amount of progress made remains unclear. On the bipartisan agreement on border security, Trump said he's "not happy", but that he may still back it. Encouragingly Trump said "I don't think you're going to see a shutdown", although the added "If you did have it, it's the Democrats' fault".

"When the time is right, the hope would be that the personal chemistry that exists (between Trump and Xi) will pay dividends", said Erin Ennis, senior vice-president at the U.S. "Agriculture has to be part of it".

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China's trading partners say the state support for industries violates Beijing's market-opening obligations and some American officials worry they might erode US industrial leadership.

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.

"I think that whatever we might get for an agreement, it will be a pause, because the USA government is still going to move forward in the telecoms sector, on law enforcement and legal action, and on sanctions-related issues".

The latest round of talks in Beijing kicked off on Monday at the deputy level to work out technical details, including a mechanism for enforcing any trade agreement.

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