Date
17 September 2019
Donald Trump has indicated that he is open to extending the deadline for completion of trade negotiations with Beijing in a bid to achieve a deal. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump has indicated that he is open to extending the deadline for completion of trade negotiations with Beijing in a bid to achieve a deal. Photo: Reuters

March 1 deadline for China trade talks not ‘magical’ date: Trump

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that trade talks with China are going well and suggested he is open to pushing off the deadline to complete negotiations, saying March 1 is not a “magical” date, Reuters reports.

“They are very complex talks. They’re going very well,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “I can’t tell you exactly about timing, but the date is not a magical date. A lot of things can happen.”

Trump said the real question would be whether the US would raise the tariffs as planned.

“I know that China would like not for that to happen, so I think they’re trying to move fast so that doesn’t happen.”

Tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent by March 1 if the world’s two largest economies do not settle their trade dispute, but Trump has suggested several times that he would be open to postponing the deadline.

On Tuesday, the US and China launched a new round of talks in Washington, with follow-up sessions at a higher level scheduled for later in the week.

The negotiations followed a week of talks in Beijing that ended last week without a deal but which officials said had yielded progress on some key issues.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the US as part of a trade deal was seeking to secure a pledge from China that it will not devalue its yuan currency.

Officials from the two countries, which resumed talks on Tuesday in Washington, are discussing how to address currency policy in a “Memorandum of Understanding” that would form the basis of a US-China trade deal, the news agency reported, citing sources.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had told Reuters last October that currency issues must be part of trade negotiations and that Chinese officials told him that further depreciation of the yuan was not in their interests.

The Bloomberg report said the US request for a pledge to keep the yuan’s value stable was aimed at neutralizing any effort by Beijing to devalue its currency to counter American tariffs.

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