Trump and his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow have vaguely stated that "talks" with China could be extended if they show signs of progress, but the man Trump appointed to oversee negotiations says there will be no extension.
Trump's trade representative Robert Lighthizer says the 90 day window for talks is a "hard deadline."
Lighthizer also says investors shouldn't panic just because he's promising to impose more tariffs.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Unless U.S.-China trade talks wrap up successfully by March 1, new tariffs will be imposed, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday, clarifying there is a “hard deadline” after a week of seeming confusion among President Donald Trump and his advisers. [...]
“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.
After a turbulent week in markets, investors “can be reassured that if there is a deal that can be made that will assure the protection of U.S. technology...and get additional market access...the president wants us to do it,” Lighthizer said. “If not we will have tariffs.”
See? Everything is fine.
The market briefly took another dump this morning because Trump has been talking about making "deals" for nearly two years now and he hasn't made any. Trump's effort to rename the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) hasn't impressed anyone because that's all it is; it's NAFTA by another name.
This doesn't mean Trump won't overrule Lighthizer in March and extend the deadline if he feels like it would be political advantageous to do so, but even the prospect that they'll impose more tariffs has the power to ruin business.