US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said trade talks with China went well today, as the world's two largest economies try to iron out an agreement to resolve their dispute.
"So far, so good," he said when asked by reporters on how the meetings in Beijing went.
Steven Mnuchin said earlier he hoped for "productive" trade meetings as the two countries seek to end a festering dispute that has seen both sides level tariffs at one other.
US tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25% from 10% if the two sides cannot reach a deal by March 1, increasing pain and costs in sectors from consumer electronics to agriculture.
Asked by reporters as he left his Beijing hotel what his hopes were for the visit, Mnuchin said "productive meetings." He did not elaborate.
Mnuchin, along with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, arrived in the Chinese capital yesterday.
US President Donald Trump said yesterday he could let the deadline for a trade agreement "slide for a little while," but he would prefer not to do so.
Global stock markets rally on US-China trade talks hopes pic.twitter.com/ttS8kR5igk— RTÉ Business (@RTEbusiness) February 13, 2019
The president said he expects to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to close the deal at some point.
Trump's advisers have described March 1 as a "hard deadline," but Trump told reporters a delay was now possible.
He said in December that the 90-day truce could be extended, but that he could revert to tariffs if differences could not be resolved.
A growing number of US businesses and lawmakers have expressed hopes for a delay in the tariff increase while the two sides tackle the difficult US demands for major structural policy changes by China.
They include ending the forced transfer of American trade secrets, curbing Beijing's industrial subsidies and enforcing intellectual property rights.
Trump said last week he did not plan to meet with Xi before the March 1 deadline.
Mnuchin and Lighthizer were scheduled to hold talks tomorrow and Friday with Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Xi.
The latest round of talks in Beijing kicked off on Monday with discussions among deputy-level officials to try to work out technical details, including a mechanism for enforcing any trade agreement.
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.