Mnuchin hopes for 'productive' trade meetings in China

Mnuchin hopes for 'productive' trade meetings in China

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would consider extending the deadline for a trade deal with China beyond March 1.

Deputy-level talks began this week in Beijing.

"I could see myself letting that slide for a little while", Trump of the March 2 deadline.

However, White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Monday a meeting was still possible soon, telling Fox News Channel that Trump wants a deal with China, but it must be "fair to Americans, and American workers and American interests".

If a deal is not reached by the beginning of next month then Washington is set to more than double tariffs on 200 billion dollars-worth of Chinese imports.

Aides to Trump say this week's talks are important as they need to demonstrate credible progress to both the president and financial markets.

Mnuchin appeared at a Beijing hotel a couple of days ahead of scheduled high-level meetings with Chinese officials in the capital, with a March 1 deadline looming to strike an accord.

Trump told reporters in January that he planned to meet Xi in late February, though he backtracked on that last week and said a gathering wouldn't take place this month.

While China has offered to buy more U.S. soybeans and beef, officials have yet even to agree on a draft of a deal that would address key USA concerns, according to media reports.

Treasury's Mnuchin and U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, would be participating in the high level trade talk in Beijing, which would unlikely to bear fruit, since all the China had been doing after the trade truce, was talking about purchasing more USA goods, evading the IP rights talks, which United States claimed "not enough" for getting a trade deal done last week. Beijing officials have yet to offer satisfying proposals on USA demands. It has fast-tracked approval of a law that would ban theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfers, but the question is how much more it can compromise.

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