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USA trade representative Lighthizer arrives in China ahead of high-level talks

13 February 2019
USA trade representative Lighthizer arrives in China ahead of high-level talks

"He wants it to be fair to Americans and American workers and American interests".

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he would consider extending a March 1 deadline to close a trade deal before raising tariffs on Chinese products.

This week, China and the United States are planning a new round of trade talks in Beijing.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer arrived in Beijing on Tuesday ahead of high-level trade talks for the world's two largest economies to hammer out a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline.

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

A round of talks at the end of January ended with some progress reported, but no deal and US declarations that much more work was needed.

If the two sides can not reach a deal by March 1, US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent. For that reason, some officials are keen for any extension not to be open-ended.

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

Hassett, who chairs the Council of Economic Advisers, added that the White House is "very much looking forward to what the senior people come up with this week".

"China has always respected and safeguarded freedom of navigation and flight based on worldwide laws in the South China Sea, but resolutely opposes any country falsely using these harm the sovereignty and security of coastal countries", Hua said Monday. "They will meet again soon". It has also imposed a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion of made-in-China goods. While those purchases will provide relief to US farmers, there has been no breakthrough on the structural issues separating the two nations, such as industrial policy, government subsidies, protection of intellectual property or forced transfers of technology.

In September, a Chinese warship came within just 45 yards of a US destroyer, raising concerns about the possibility of tensions boiling over into conflict.

China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, despite claims from Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines. While the American side has expressed optimism, officials caution that there are still many large issues between the USA and China.

Speaking about the most recent operation, Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, told CNN that the action was meant to "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by worldwide law".