WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that if he sees progress being made in trade talks with China, he may be inclined to extend negotiations beyond a March 1 deadline, and suggested it was likely the globe’s two largest economies would be able to make a deal.
Washington and Beijing are engaged in negotiations intended to ease trade tensions ahead of that deadline, at which point the United States had initially planned to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent.
But Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that because of the progress being made, this week’s round of negotiations had been extended. He added that if the two countries reached a deal, tariffs would not need to rise.
Trump said he expects to meet China’s leader, Xi Jinping, soon, and the biggest trade decisions would be made between the two leaders, though he left open the possibility that he and Xi would not work out the final points.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two countries had concluded a strong agreement on currency.