President Trump: Could extend the 1 March trade deadline with China

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Asserting that the trade negotiations with China were going “extremely well”, US President Donald Trump on February 15 said he would soon be meeting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and indicated the possibility of extending the deadline for a trade deal with Beijing beyond March 1.

Addressing a Rose Garden press conference, Trump said the US and China are nearing a trade deal that would benefit the two countries.

It could “be the biggest deal ever made”, he said, adding that “there are many points” that the US is bringing up that “nobody ever brought up or thought to bring up. They are very important because we were on the wrong side of every one of them”.

Trump is demanding China to reduce the $375 billion trade deficit and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and more access to American goods to Chinese markets.

He has already increased the tariffs on over $250 billion Chinese exports to US and threatened to extend tariffs on $200 billion Chinese imports to 25 per cent from current 10 per cent.

“There is a possibility that I will extend the date (March 1)…If I see we’re close to a deal or the deal is going in the in the right direction, I would do that,” Trump said.

During their meeting in Buenos Aires on December 1, Trump and Xi had agreed to give a pause to their trade war till March 1, before which they decided to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal.

Top officials from the two countries have had multiple round of talks on this. The last one ended Thursday in Beijing. The next round is scheduled for next week in Washington.

The negotiations, Trump said, “is going extremely well” and he is planning to meet Xi to give finishing touches to the trade deal when the negotiating teams from both the sides completes their job.