Trump open to extending China trade deadline

AFP Photo

U.S. President Donald Trump said he could consider a later trade deadline with China if negotiators from Beijing and Washington were close to a deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday he is open to postponing a trade deadline with China if negotiators make sufficient progress on a deal.

The declaration is a softening of Trump's rhetoric after he previously insisted there was no room to extend the deadline.

"I could see myself letting that slide for a little while," Trump of the March 2 deadline. "But generally speaking, I'm not inclined to do that."

U.S. negotiators are currently in China for a week of talks ahead of the deadline at which point the U.S. would ramp up to 25 percent its tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

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

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war in December to allow trade talks to have ample space to proceed.

Trump said talks in Beijing are "going well," but acknowledged bilateral talks between him and Xi are unlikely to come to pass before the current March 2 deadline.

"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.

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