—From wire reports

Trump flexible on tariff deadline

President Donald Trump said he is open to letting a March 1 deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese products pass without penalty if the two sides are near an agreement, sending a conciliatory signal as talks to resolve a trade war between countries continue.

“If we’re close to a deal where we think we can make a real deal and it’s going to get done, I could see myself letting that slide for a little while,” Trump said to reporters during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Negotiators began their latest round of talks this week ahead of the March 1 deadline for additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump has threatened to more than double the rate of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports.

Two days of talks start Thursday, involving U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

Aides to Trump say this week’s talks are important as they need to demonstrate credible progress to the president and financial markets. U.S. officials are pressing China to stop stealing intellectual property from American companies and commit to deeper reforms to a state-driven economic model that they say hurts U.S. competitors.