U.S. officials arrive in China for trade talks as deadline looms

U.S. officials arrive in China for trade talks as deadline looms

U.S. officials arrive in China for trade talks as deadline looms

U.S. President Donald Trump said he's open to extending a March 1 deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese products if the two sides are near an agreement.

Members of a U.S. trade delegation including deputy USA trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish left a Beijing hotel on Tuesday (Feb 12) on their way to the second day of talks with Chinese officials.

US tariffs on $200 billion (155 billion pounds) worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if the two sides can not reach a deal by a March 1 deadline, increasing pain and costs in sectors from consumer electronics to agriculture.

However, White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Monday 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".

"But at some point, I expect to meet with President Xi, who I have a lot of respect for and like a lot, and make the parts of the deal that the group is unable to make", Trump said.


"If we're close to a deal".

Uncertainty whether the leaders will meet to finalize an agreement has stoked concerns that negotiations are faltering as the March 1 deadline approaches.

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. China will likely respond by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods that it announced previous year in retaliation.

Talks kicked off in Beijing with discussions among deputy-level officials on Monday before minister-level meetings later in the week. According to a White House official, the delegates were preparing to focus more on pressing Beijing to gain a structural reform in China's business policy for the USA firms.

Facing an economic slowdown at home, the Chinese government has a strong motivation to address American demands and put an end to the trade war. "And, absolutely, you know, we've put everything on the table, including IP theft and forced technology transfer and so on".

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