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The US says it will raise tariffs on imports from China if they fail to reach an agreement by that deadline.

"The likely outcome is that the tariffs remain at the current 10 percent rate", CNBC reported Thursday, citing administration officials and sources briefed by the White House.

The US is showing much flexibility and is thus willing to extend the deadline beyond the March 1st self-imposed deadline - just for the two sides to agree to end the truth once and for all.

As the March 1st deadline for ending a trade standoff between the USA and China looms, negotiations between the two countries are taking a serious turn even as top USA negotiators head to China next week to usher in the next phase of the negotiation process.

Both Trump and his top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, have said that the March 2 deadline is a firm date and that the United States will not extend the timeline, which the two Presidents agreed upon during the G20 Summit in Argentina past year. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would advise the president on any future talks with Xi after they get back to the U.S. The ASA says it's the only way US soybean producers can regain commercial access to China, their most significant overseas market.

There had been speculation that Trump might meet the Chinese leader after he flies to Vietnam in late February for a summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. It is also expected that the situation will negatively affect the USA stock market. The CEO of agricultural trader Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) made a similar prediction, expecting a trade resolution with China this year.

The March crude contract was up seven cents at US$52.71 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 2.6 cents at US$2.58 per mmBTU.

His position, together with a threat to raise tariffs on more Chinese imports on March 2, may be a USA tactic to extract concessions from China, especially in structural areas such as alleged intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer.

One senior administration official said the decision not to go ahead with a meeting between Xi and Trump before March 1 should not be read as a sign the talks were breaking down. She described the deadline as a "black cloud".

Lighthizer said last week that tariffs had not been a subject of the talks.

Until now, a good deal of optimism has surrounded the U.S.