The White House is ramping up pressure to reach a trade deal with China in the next two weeks, warning that the US is prepared to walk away from the negotiations. “It won’t go on forever,” Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, said on Tuesday. “At some point in any negotiation you go, ‘we’re close to getting something done so we’re going to keep going.’ On the other hand, at some point you throw up your hands and say ‘this is never going anywhere.’” “You’ll know one way or the other in the next couple of weeks,” Mulvaney said, speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference. There’s no “fever” on the part of the White House to finalise an accord, he added.
After four months of intense negotiations, the Trump administration is making its impatience known, in a shift from mostly optimistic messaging about the prospect of a deal to end their trade war that’s resulted in tariffs on $360 billion of each other’s goods. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in Beijing this week for the latest round of talks, with Vice Premier Liu He expected to visit Washington next week.