US trade rep: 90 days is a 'hard deadline' for trade deal with China

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Sunday that he considers March 1 a "hard deadline" for the U.S. and China to reach a trade deal, adding that President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE will raise tariffs at that point if there isn't a deal.

"As far as I'm concerned it's a hard deadline. When I talked to the president of the United States he's not talking about going beyond March. He's talking about getting a deal. If there is a deal to be gotten, we want to get it in the next 90 days," Lighthizer said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

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Trump agreed to put his trade war with China on hold for 90 days after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 Summit in Argentina earlier this month.

Trump in a tweet following that meeting also hinted at the possibility that the negotiations with China and the U.S. could extend beyond 90 days.

"The negotiations with China have already started. Unless extended, they will end 90 days from the date of our wonderful and very warm dinner with President Xi in Argentina," he wrote in a tweet.

But Trump also called himself a "Tariff Man" in a separate tweet, and Lighthizer on Sunday said Trump will move forward with plans to raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent if a deal is not reached by March 1.

"If there is a deal to be done we'll make it," he said. "The president wants us to make a deal. But as you say it has to be verifiable. It has to be moderated. It can't be just vague promises like we've seen over the last 25 years."

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday that the administration is "focused right now on this first 90-day increment."

"Regarding what may happen in the future and presidential considerations, that will be up to [Trump], of course,” he said on "Fox News Sunday." 

— This report was updated at 1:52 p.m.