Trade war: Trump could let China trade deadline 'slide'

Gladys Abbott
February 13, 2019

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin looks forward to several important days of trade talks, he said on Tuesday after arriving in the Chinese capital for high-level talks to hammer out a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline.

Trump said on Tuesday, "If we are 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".

USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to hold talks on Thursday and Friday with Chinese vice premier Liu He, top economic adviser to president Xi Jinping.

After that date, USA tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent. 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 USA officials have repeatedly called a crucial element.

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Deputy-level talks began this week in Beijing.

A March 1 deadline is looming for China and the United States to strike an accord before Washington hikes tariffs on Chinese goods to 25%.

Trump told reporters in January that he planned to meet Xi in late February, though he backtracked on that last week and said a gathering wouldn't take place this month. China would likely respond by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S goods that it announced a year ago in retaliation. While those purchases will provide relief to US farmers, there has been no breakthrough on the structural issues separating the two nations, such as industrial policy, government subsidies, protection of intellectual property or forced transfers of technology. Washington is demanding far-reaching changes from China to address unfair practices it says are deeply unfair, including theft of American intellectual property and the massive Chinese trade surplus.

US campaign against Huawei faces challenge in Eastern Europe / WSJ (paywall)"In the Czech Republic, officials have taken opposite sides on how to balance security concerns raised by the USA, and the country's own cybersecurity officials, with the desire for Chinese investment, trade and business opportunities".

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