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Trade war

US to hike China tariffs on March 2 if talks fail

Duties will be raised to 25% from 10% at end of 90-day window

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer officially set a new deadline for a delayed tariff hike on Chinese goods.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. officially set the date of its planned tariff increase on Chinese goods to 12:01 a.m. on March 2, 2019 in a Federal Register filing, as it begins trade negotiations with Beijing.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has called March 1 a "hard deadline," prodding the Chinese to speed up the talks.

The White House placed additional duties of 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in late September and was planning to bring that in line with previously imposed tariffs at 25% on Jan. 1.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping then agreed to discuss trade, intellectual property and cybersecurity issues for 90 days, during which the White House would postpone the increase.

But the Trump administration invited confusion when it did not release a date about when the truce would start and end. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, for instance, said at one point that the deadline would be in late March.

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