Trump’s trade czar urges patience on China deal president craves



Jenny Leonard and Andrew Mayeda | The Seattle Times

Donald Trump’s top trade negotiator is dialing back expectations for a sweeping trade deal with China just days after the president suggested he was already planning to sign an accord with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Trump this week raised the prospect that he could meet Xi for a “signing summit,” possibly at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as early as next month. Trump has extended the deadline for talks beyond March 1, buoying hopes among investors that an end to the trade war could be in sight.

But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer took a more cautious tone on Wednesday, telling lawmakers that much work needs to be done before the administration reaches a trade pact with Beijing, and after that, the tough task of implementing it will get underway. His comments stoked doubts about how much progress was being made on resolving the trade dispute, contributing to the stock market’s downbeat finish Wednesday.

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