Trump says may extend March 1 deadline for China trade deal

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, listens as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, talks while they line up for a group photo at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China February 15, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he may extend a March 1 deadline for reaching a trade deal with China while keeping current tariffs in place, adding that the negotiations are “very complicated.”

“There is a possibility that I will extend the date,” Trump told a news conference in the White House Rose Garden. “But if I do that, if I see that we’re close to a deal or the deal is going in the right direction, I would do that at the same tariffs that we’re charging now, I would not increase the tariffs.”

U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from the current 10 percent rate if no deal is reached by March 1.

Reporting by David Lawder, Susan Heavey and Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama