Image: iStock
Image: iStock

The American negotiator in charge of trade talks with China on Sunday said March 1 would be a “hard deadline” for reaching an agreement aimed at ending an intensifying trade war.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s a hard deadline,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on the US television program Face the Nation.

“When I talk to the president of the United States, he’s not talking about going beyond March 1, he’s talking about getting a deal if there is a deal to be gotten in the next 90 days.”

Lighthizer also said that he did not expect the controversial arrest in Canada of a top Chinese executive, Meng Wanzhou of telecom giant Huawei, to affect the trade talks.

“It shouldn’t really have much of an impact,” he said. “I can understand from the Chinese perspective how they would see it that way. That is a criminal justice matter. It is totally separate from anything that I work on.”

However, China summoned the US ambassador on Sunday to protest the arrest and has demanded that Washington drop its extradition request.

Meng faces US fraud charges related to alleged sanctions-breaking dealings with Iran.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse

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