Following the announcement at the G20 that the U.S. and China would spend 90 days working toward a trade agreement, speculation began to circle that 90 days wouldn’t be enough time to make meaningful change. Even President Trump alluded to the possibility of an extension last week, but over the weekend, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said March 1 is the deadline to finish on a trade deal with China.
“As far as I am concerned it is a hard deadline. When I talk to the president of the United States, he is not talking about going beyond March,” Lighthizer said on the CBS show, “Face the Nation,” referring to Trump’s recent decision to delay new tariffs while talks proceed. “The way this is set up is that at the end of 90 days, these tariffs will be raised.”
Lighthizer will be leading the negotiations for the U.S. Late last week, the Chinese Ministry for Commerce released a statement saying they are willing to work toward an agreement with the U.S. In fact, Reuters reports one of China’s foreign ministry spokespeople alluded to work already underway in Beijing to find agreement.
“We hope both can earnestly, with joint efforts, put into effect the consensus reached by the two countries’ leaders at the Argentina meeting,” Lu Kang said.
Lighthizer outlined several areas that the U.S. would need to see changes in during the coming weeks, including agriculture.
“We need agricultural sales and we need manufacturing sales. We need structural changes on this fundamental issue of non-economic technology transfer,” Lighthizer said.