The Latest: Trump might extend March 2 trade deadline

Donald Trump Photo: AP
Donald Trump

February 15, 2019 11:22 AM

BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on China-U.S. trade talks in Beijing (all times local):

1:07 a.m.

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U.S. President Donald Trump says there's a "possibility" he will extend a March 2 deadline in trade talks with China if both sides are close to a deal.

Trump says that would happen "if I see that we're close to a deal or the deal is going in the right direction."

The U.S. is scheduled to raise import taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods March 2 if the world's two biggest economies can't resolve their differences. The U.S. and China are in disagreement over U.S. charges that China steals U.S. technology and forces American companies to hand over trade secrets in exchange for access to China's markets.

Trump said Friday in Washington that "I would not increase the tariffs" if the negotiations are going in a positive direction.

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6:40 p.m.

An official Chinese news agency says U.S. and Chinese negotiators will meet next week in Washington for talks on a technology dispute ahead of a March 2 deadline for a planned American tariff hike.

The Xinhua News Agency's announcement followed two days of talks in Beijing that had been the last scheduled meeting before the March 2 deadline.

President Donald Trump's economic adviser said earlier he had yet to decide whether to escalate the dispute by going ahead with the penalties on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

6 p.m.

Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says U.S. and Chinese negotiators "made headway on very, very important" issues in talks on a technology dispute.

Lighthizer expressed optimism but gave no details after President Donald Trump's economic adviser said he yet to decide whether to go ahead with a March 2 tariff increase.

Business groups and economists said the two days of talks in Beijing were unlikely to be enough time to resolve the sprawling dispute. They said China's goal probably was to persuade Trump they were making enough progress to postpone the penalties.

In a courtesy call on Chinese President Xi Jinping after the talks wrapped up, Lighthizer said, "We feel we have made headway on very, very important and difficult issues. We have additional work we have to do but we are hopeful."

5:45 p.m.

Two days of U.S.-Chinese trade talks have ended with no immediate indication whether they made progress on a battle over Beijing's technology ambitions.

Delegations led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, met at a government guesthouse. They left without talking to reporters.

Earlier, President Donald Trump's top economic adviser said he has yet to decide whether to go ahead with a March 2 tariff increase on Chinese imports from China. Companies and investors worry the fight between the two biggest global economies could drag on weakening world growth.

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12:00 a.m.

U.S. and Chinese envoys are holding a second day of trade talks after the top economic adviser to President Donald Trump said he has yet to decide whether to go ahead with a March 2 tariff increase on imports from China.

Business groups and economists say the two days of negotiations due to run through Friday are too brief to resolve a sprawling dispute over Beijing's technology ambitions. They say China's goal is to persuade Trump to push back the March 2 deadline.

Trump's economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters in Washington the "vibe is good" in the talks, but he said Trump has made no decision on whether to escalate the dispute by letting the March 2 tariff hike go ahead.

Both sides have expressed optimism without releasing details.

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(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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