President Trump is considering pushing back the deadline for imposition of higher tariffs on Chinese imports by 60 days, as the world’s two biggest economies try to negotiate a solution to their trade dispute, according to people familiar with the matter.
The president said Tuesday that he was open to letting the March 1 deadline slide for more than doubling tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods if the two countries are close to a deal that addresses deep structural changes to China’s economic policies. He added, though, that he was not “inclined” to do so. The people said that Trump is weighing whether to add 60 days to the current deadline to give negotiations more time to continue.
“I think it’s going along very well,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office this week. “They’re showing us tremendous respect.”
Senior officials at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative did not respond to requests for comment.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in Beijing for the latest round of high-level talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday and Friday. Trump has indicated he will need to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping to agree on a final deal. While no date has been set, a White House aide this week said the U.S. president still wants to meet his Chinese counterpart soon in a bid to end the trade war.
Negotiations this week are focused on how to enforce the trade deal and putting on paper a framework agreement to present to the two presidents.