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U.S. President Trump receives update on China trade talks

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02/16/2019 | 07:37pm EST
U.S. President Donald Trump departs Washington aboard Air Force One

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - President Donald Trump received an update on trade talks with China on Saturday at his Florida retreat after discussions in Beijing saw progress ahead of a March 1 deadline for reaching a deal.

Trump, at his Mar-a-Lago club, was briefed in person by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and trade expert Peter Navarro, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, economic adviser Larry Kudlow and other aides joined by phone.

The White House offered no additional detail.

Both the United States and China reported progress in five days of negotiations in Beijing this week but the White House said much work remains to be done to force changes in Chinese trade behaviour.

Shortly after the meeting with his trade team, Trump said on Twitter the talks in Beijing were "very productive."

At a White House press conference on Friday, he said the talks with China were "very complicated" and that he might extend the March 1 deadline and keep tariffs on Chinese goods from rising.

U.S. duties on $200 billion (£155.1 billion) worth of Chinese imports are set to rise from 10 percent to 25 percent if no deal is reached by March 1 to address U.S. demands that China curb forced technology transfers and better enforce intellectual property rights.

China’s vice premier and chief trade negotiator, Liu He, and Lighthizer are to lead the next round of talks this coming week in Washington.

(Reporting by Steve Holland in Palm Beach, Florida; Editing by Michelle Price and Bill Trott)

By Steve Holland

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