Friday, 22 February, 2019

Trump Flexible on China Tariff Deadline as He Seeks ‘Real Deal’

U.S. Naval Patrol Prompts Chinese Protest as Trade Talks StartMore U.S. Naval Patrol Prompts Chinese Protest as Trade Talks StartMore
Orlando Vargas | 14 February, 2019, 12:42

Top U.S. officials arrived in the Chinese capital on February 12 ahead of high-level trade talks as the world's two largest economies attempt to hammer out a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline and avoid another escalation of tariffs.

If they are coming close to a complete deal, Trump said he could see pushing off that deadline.

Trump has vowed to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent on March 2 unless the two sides strike a deal to address what Washington perceives as Beijing's "unfair" trade practices.

Wheat rose 1¢ to $5.18¼ a bushel in Chicago while Kansas City futures declined ¼¢ to $4.94 a bushel.

Two U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers sailed within 12 nautical miles of a disputed artificial island in the South China Sea on Monday, prompting "strong dissatisfaction" from China.

High-level discussions, led by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, are due to begin on Thursday as both sides rush to make progress before the 1 March deadline.

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"The relevant actions of the US warships violated Chinese sovereignty, and undermined peace, security, and order in the relevant sea areas", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday, South China Morning Post reported. The situation could get worse as a truce on tariffs is set to expire in early March.

Businesspeople and economists say the two days of talks are unlikely to resolve the battle that threatens to drag on weakening global economic growth.

"The hardliners seem loath to settle for a deal that represents anything less than total capitulation by China on all US demands", he said. While the American side has expressed optimism, officials caution that there are still many large issues between the US and China. "Investors hope an extended deadline could allow a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi before the deadline", St.George added.

The first source added that the host country would hold a banquet for the USA delegation in a Chinese restaurant, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would attend the event. But it is unclear whether that will satisfy Washington and other governments that complain the system is created to extract technology from foreign companies and to use official industrial standards to shield Chinese enterprises from competition. Trump said last week they plan to meet, but not before the March 1 deadline.

"We conduct routine and regular freedom of navigation operations as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future", he said.

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