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US is running out of time on NAFTA while confronting China

AP  |  Washington 

Donald Trump's team is running out of time to a trade pact with and this year just as it's confronting and sparring with its allies over US tariffs on imported and

If negotiators can't agree on a revamped the North American Free Trade Agreement soon set an informal Thursday deadline the talks could drag into 2019. Or Trump could carry out his threat to abandon the agreement he's labelled a job-killing "disaster" and throw commerce among the three NAFTA countries into disarray.

"The window is closing rapidly," said Dan Ujczo, a at in Columbus,

NAFTA is hardly the only urgent item on the administration's trade agenda. Trump was expected to meet today with China's to try to avert a trade war. Liu will also meet with a US team led by

The US and China, locked in a conflict over Beijing's demand that American companies turn over technology to gain access to the Chinese market, have threatened to slap tariffs on USD 50 billion of each other's goods. And Trump has asked US Trade to find an additional USD 100 billion in Chinese products to tax.

The prospect of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies has unnerved global financial markets and alarmed major companies.

"The stakes are too high for these talks to fail," said Christine McDaniel, a senior research fellow at "The US economy, its firms, its workers, and its people all depend on being able to buy and sell with their counterparts at home and across the globe every day."

Talking to reporters today, Trump downplayed the prospect of a successful negotiation with Beijing: "Will that be successful?," the asked. "I tend to doubt it." Trade sanctions could disrupt business between the countries and potentially threaten jobs. Consumers would be hurt by higher prices for imported products that are hit by tariffs.

In the meantime, Japan, a staunch US ally, is threatening to go to the to protest Trump's tariffs on imported and The imposed the tariffs in March, arguing that reliance on imported metals posed a threat to America's national security. He exempted the European Union, Canada, and but not until June 1.

The and tariffs have antagonised traditional American allies. Those counties want permanent exemptions from the tariffs. Or they want them withdrawn altogether.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 02:45 IST