Photo: Reuters/Aly Song
Photo: Reuters/Aly Song

The Trump administration is sending trade representatives to Beijing early next month, reports indicated on Wednesday, as the clock ticks down to a deadline for the world’s two largest economies to reach a deal.

The delegation will head to Beijing the week of January 7, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Top US officials who have spearheaded the trade negotiations thus far – including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – will, however, not be making the trip.

In their place will be officials from both offices, Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass, the sources said.

While Trump administration officials have recently held trade talks with their Chinese counterparts over the phone, this will be the first in-person meeting since a tariff ceasefire agreement was reached at the Group of Twenty summit in Buenos Aires last month.

The White House imposed a deadline of March 1 to reach a deal or move ahead with additional tariffs on Chinese goods, but President Trump has suggested in public comments that the date could be extended.