Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

No plan to meet Xi before deadline

No plan to meet Xi before deadline

The dispute has escalated to encompass $360 billion in trade between the two economic superpowers, and without an agreement by the start of March, the Trump administration is poised to more than double the punitive duties on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

As the March 1st deadline for ending a trade standoff between the United States and China looms, negotiations between the two countries are taking a serious turn even as top U.S. negotiators head to China next week to usher in the next phase of the negotiation process.

Trump told reporters last month that he planned to meet Xi in late February, adding there was a "good chance" of striking a deal. With all the ingredients for another round of a stock market selloffs in place, equity bears are seen jumping back into the scene if US-China trade talks do take a turn for the worst. That marks the end of a 90-day tariffs truce mooted after Trump and Xi met in December. The two leaders could also speak by phone, the official said. It is also expected that the situation will negatively affect the USA stock market.

A US delegation will travel to China next week to begin trade talks, according to reports.

Despite the optimism, the White House emphasised in a statement that a scheduled tariff increase on $200bn of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent was a "hard deadline" if no deal was reached by March 1.

Trump, who is proud of having a warm relationship with Xi, said last week he would meet with him again to hammer out a final deal, after Chinese Vice Premier Liu He presented Xi's invitation at the White House. Treasury bond yields dropped as investors sought safety in sovereign U.S. debt.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and trade representative Robert Lighthizer are leading a team to Beijing next week to continue talks aimed at resolving a costly trade war.

Washington complaints about technology transfers and intellectual property protections, along with accusations of Chinese cybertheft of USA trade secrets and a systematic campaign to acquire United States technology firms, were used by Trump's administration to justify punitive tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese imports.

Mr Lighthizer told reporters last week that it was not certain a deal could be reached.

CNBC reported that the tariffs were likely to remain at the 10 percent rate.

And President Donald Trump's aggressive strategy has failed to produce a reduction in the USA trade deficit with China, which he set as a primary goal.

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