US sets ‘hard deadline’ for China trade talks

The US and China have until March 1 to secure a trade deal which would “assure the protection of US technology” and “get additional market access” to US companies, US Trade Representatives Robert Lighthizer said Sunday.

If the deal is not reached, the US is set to raise tariffs on $200 billion (€176 billion) of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent.

“As far as I am concerned it is a hard deadline,” Lighthizer told the US cable network CBS, after President Donald Trump announced a 90-day delay on raising the tariffs to allow negotiations.

“When I talk to the president of the United States he is not talking about going beyond March,” Lighthizer added.

Trump met with his Chinese colleague Xi Jinping at the margins of the recent G20 summit in Argentina. The two leaders pledged to work on US objections to China’s trade policies, which Trump has repeatedly called “unfair.”

Lighthizer told CBS that the US will demand concessions in various areas, including Beijing’s demands for US companies to turn over technology to their Chinese partners.

“We need agricultural sales and we need manufacturing sales,” Lighthizer said. “We need structural changes on this fundamental issue of non-economic technology transfer.”

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