- President Donald Trump is considering pushing back the March 1 deadline for trade negotiations with China by 60 days, according to a report from Bloomberg.
- "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. But generally speaking, I’m not inclined to do that," Trump said of the deadline during a Cabinet meeting earlier this week.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky said Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are planning to meet next month to talk about trade, according to Reuters.
The potential March meeting between the two leaders is particularly significant because President Trump has said that he and Xi will work out the final deal themselves. Trump tweeted on January 31, "No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future."
If an agreement is not reached, and Trump does not allow the March 1 deadline to "slide," as the President said in the cabinet meeting, then tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports will increase from 10% to 25%. This would likely be followed by billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods headed to China, which has already retaliated with $60 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods.
This March deadline is the result of a 90-day cease-fire on tariff hikes that China and the United States agreed to after Trump and Xi met last year at the G-20 summit. Another 60 days that would give trade negotiators more time to reach a deal.
"Things are going well with China," he told reporters this week. "China wants to make a deal very badly."
The latest round of talks between top-level officials is currently taking place in Beijing. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday and Friday, according to Bloomberg. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is also reportedly going to meet with Xi Jinping this week. Bloomberg further reported an additional 90-day extension proposed by the Chinese was declined by U.S. negotiators.
With a substantial hike in tariffs looming, uncertainty around whether the Trump administration will follow through on the promised increase or delay can only add confusion to an already intractable situation for both shippers and carriers.