U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he could let the deadline for a trade agreement "slide for a little while", but that he would prefer not to and expects to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to close the deal at some point.
Deputy-level talks began this week in Beijing.
Lighthizer did not answer reporters' questions on his arrival at a hotel in the Chinese capital.
"He wants to meet with President Xi very soon", White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Monday on Fox News.
Those tariffs now stand at 10 percent, but an additional $50 billion worth of imports has already been hit by a 25 percent tariff. Trump had said final resolution of the trade dispute would depend on the meeting with Xi "in the near future" but told reporters it had not yet been arranged.
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USA tariffs on $200 billion (155 billion pounds) worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if the two sides can not reach a deal by a March 1 deadline, increasing pain and costs in sectors from consumer electronics to agriculture. China would likely respond by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S goods that it announced previous year in retaliation.
While China has offered to buy more United States soybeans and beef, officials have yet even to agree on a draft of a deal that would address key U.S. concerns, according to media reports. While those purchases will provide relief to USA farmers, there has been no breakthrough on the structural issues separating the two nations, such as industrial policy, government subsidies, protection of intellectual property or forced transfers of technology.
These include ending China's alleged violations of intellectual-property rights and forced transfers of American technologies.
"The key is whether the US and China can find common ground", said He Weiwen, a former commerce ministry official and now a senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, an independent research group.