President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he could let the March 1st deadline for the trade truce with China “slide” if the two sides are close to making a “real deal.”
U.S. officials are in Beijing for the latest round of trade talks. While the American side has expressed optimism, officials caution that there are still many large issues between the U.S. and China. In particular, the U.S. is demanding structural changes to the Chinese economy, including an end to state-subsidies of Chinese-owned businesses and an end to policies that transfer technology intellectual property from U.S. firms to Chinese competitors.
“If we’re close to a deal, where we think we’re going to make a real deal and it’s going to get done, I can see myself letting that slide for a little while,” Trump said Tuesday. “But generally speaking, I’m not inclined to do that.”
One stumbling block is how such a deal could be made enforceable, according to U.S. officials. China’s economy is extremely opaque and its leadership is reluctant to provide the kind of transparency U.S. officials are demanding, a person familiar with the matter told Breitbart News.
The U.S. has imposed a 25 percent tariff on around $50 billion of Chinese-made imports, principally technology. It has also imposed a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion of made-in-China goods. Until Trump agreed to a 90-day trade truce, the 10 percent tariff was set to rise to 25 percent.
But that trade truce is now just 10-days from running its course. Many of those paying close attention to the trade dispute expect the Trump administration may extend the truce beyond March 1st if they believe talks are making significant progress.
Trump kept open that possibility on Tuesday but also indicated that he would prefer not to extend the deadline. Many China trade hawks, inside and outside the administration, believe that raising the tariff to 25 percent may be necessary to force China to make the necessary concessions.