Trade war: Trump could let China trade deadline 'slide'

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Will the trade war ever end? Potential late March Trump-Xi meeting would likely extend talks

China's economy already has shown signs of slowing, while the trade war has shaken the confidence of United States businesses, as retaliatory tariffs have raised prices and helped choke off a key export market.

In December, Washington suspended for three months its plan to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports - to 25 percent from the current 10 percent - to allow time for negotiators to work out a trade spat that has triggered fears of a global economic slowdown. Now, if we're close to a deal where we think we can make a real deal and it's going to get done, I could see myself letting that slide for a little while.

"We're doing very well over in China", Trump added.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a member of the U.S. trade delegation to China, leaves a hotel in Beijing, China February 13, 2019.

A new round of trade talks between the US and China begins in Beijing this week, with both sides hoping to reach a trade deal by the end of this month.

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US President Donald Trump has said he could extend the 1 March deadline to reach a trade deal with China if they are making good progress.

Washington is expected to keep pressing Beijing on long-standing demands that it make sweeping structural reforms to protect American companies' intellectual property, or IP, end policies aimed at forcing the transfer of technology to Chinese companies, and curb industrial subsidies.

Lighthizer, who arrived at the hotel earlier in the day, did not answer reporters' questions. Last week, Trump said that he would not meet Xi before the deadline, but further planning for a summit had not been reported. But the two sides are only just starting the work of drafting a common document and are still tussling over how a deal may be enforced, which US officials have repeatedly called a crucial element.

US negotiators will likely continue to urge China to make structural reforms and end what the USA claims to be unfair trade practices.

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