China's Xi to meet top United States trade officials

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the US team are 'looking forward to several important days of talks' in Beijing

If China and the United States fail to reach a deal or agree an extension of the deadline, the USA could increase the tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese products from the current 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday that China's Vice Premier Liu He met US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Today, US department of agriculture deputy secretary Stephen Censky said Mr Trump and President Xi are expected to meet "some time in March", a further suggestion the US is views March 1 as a soft deadline. Some Chinese offers on intellectual property, which I think they are not going to offer what we want.

The people said that Trump is weighing whether to add 60 days to the deadline to give negotiations more time to continue.

There was no indication whether negotiators are making progress on the thorniest dispute: USA pressure on Beijing to scale back plans for government-led creation of Chinese global leaders in robotics and other technologies.

The two days of talks starting Thursday allow too little time to resolve the war over Beijing's technology ambitions that threatens to drag on weakening global economic growth, businesspeople and economists say.

Expectations for a trade deal have grown as China faces pressure from slowing economic growth, and as swooning global markets pose a challenge to Trump and his economic advisors. The following day, a 10% tariff imposed in July on $200 billion of Chinese imports would rise to 25%. Trump said last week they plan to meet, but not before the March 1 deadline.

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Earlier, the White House called March 2 a "hard deadline".

Trump has indicated that he would need to meet Xi to agree on a final deal.

US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters in the Chinese capital that talks were going well.

Washington is demanding far-reaching changes to Chinese practices that it says are unfair, including theft of United States technology and intellectual property, and myriad barriers that foreign companies face in the Chinese domestic market. But business groups and foreign governments point to rules they say compel companies to disclose trade secrets or share technology with state-owned local partners.

The data shows that January's exports in dollar terms soared by 9.1 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. China's trade surplus with the United States narrowed to US$27.3 billion in January, from US$29.87 billion in December.

As for the tone/sentiment, the report states that "it wasn't immediately clear if there was progress in resolving any of the thorny issues separating the two sides".

Mr Green said if a deal is agreed then China will feel as if they have "dodged a bullet" however America might not view it as an end to trade friction.

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