WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-China trade negotiations need to reach a successful end by March 1 or new tariffs will be imposed, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday, clarifying there is a "hard deadline" after a week of seeming confusion among President Donald Trump and his advisers.
Global markets are jittery about a collision between the world's two largest economic powers over China's huge trade surplus with the United States and U.S. claims that China is stealing intellectual property and technology.
"As far as I am concerned it is a hard deadline. When I talk to the president of the United States he is not talking about going beyond March," Lighthizer said on the CBS show "Face the Nation," referring to President Donald Trump's recent decision to delay new tariffs while talks proceed.
"The way this is set up is that at the end of 90 days, these tariffs will be raised," said Lighthizer, who has been tapped to lead the talks and appeared to tamp down expectations that the negotiation period could be extended.
Photos of the week: 11/30 - 12/7
Photos of the week: 11/30 - 12/7
The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried out by a military honor guard during a State Funeral at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
A Mandarin duck flutters in Central Park in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. In the weeks since it appeared in Central Park, the duck has become a celebrity. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Homes leveled by the Camp Fire line Valley Ridge Drive in Paradise, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter participate in the State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft carrying the crew formed of David Saint-Jacques of Canada, Oleg Kononenko of Russia and Anne McClain of the U.S. blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Migrants from Honduras, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, try to jump a border fence to cross illegally from Mexico to the U.S, in Tijuana, Mexico, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sully, the service dog of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush in his final months, lays in front of Bush's casket at the George H. Lewis & Sons funeral home in Houston, Texas, U.S., December 3, 2018. Courtesy Office of George H. W. Bush-Evan Sisley/Handout via REUTERS
Boxing - Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury - WBC World Heavyweight Title - Staples Centre, Los Angeles, United States - December 1, 2018 Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury after the fight Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A damaged road is seen during a survey by the Alaska National Guard 176th Wing after an earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska, U.S. November 30, 2018. Picture taken November 30, 2018. U.S. Air National Guard/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
TIJUANA, MEXICO - DECEMBER 02: A boy cries after a chaotic crossing over the U.S.-Mexico border fence on December 2, 2018 from Tijuana, Mexico. Numerous members of the caravan were able to pass from Tijuana to San Diego and were quickly taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Most had planned to request political asylum in the United States after traveling more than 6 weeks from Central America. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 4: Former Senator Bob Dole stands up and salutes the casket of the late former President George H.W. Bush as he lies in state at the U.S. Capitol, December 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. A WWII combat veteran, Bush served as a member of Congress from Texas, ambassador to the United Nations, director of the CIA, vice president and 41st president of the United States. Bush will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda until Wednesday morning. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
US extreme mountain bike athlete Ray Syron takes part in the Downhill Challenge Medellin 2018 in the Comuna 13 neighbouhood in Medellin, Colombia, on December 2, 2018. - The competition in Medellin set a new Guinness World Record for the longest track of Downhill Urbano. (Photo by Camilo GIL / AFP) (Photo credit should read CAMILO GIL/AFP/Getty Images)
Ohio State NCAA college football head coach Urban Meyer, left, answers questions during a news conference announcing his retirement Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. At right is assistant coach Ryan Day. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Former President George W. Bush speaks at the State Funeral for his father, former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russ Noel, owner of Country Classic Cars, looks at one of the damaged cars, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, at Country Classic Cars near Staunton, Ill. A suspected tornado ripped through the business destroying two buildings and damaging more than 100 cars. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 03: Cher poses onstage with the cast of 'The Cher Show' at 'The Cher Show' Broadway Opening Night at Neil Simon Theatre on December 03, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for The Cher Show )
US President Donald J. Trump, with First Lady Melania Trump, salutes the casket containing the body of former US President George H.W. Bush in the Rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 03 December 2018. Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra and musician Nick Jonas arrive for their wedding reception in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 04: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 04, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 800 points as investors fears increased over a potential trade war between China and America. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence speaks as Former President George H. W. Bush lies in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, in Washington. Morry Gash/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a Christmas Party for families and children of deployed personnel from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham serving in Cyprus, at Kensington Palace on December 4, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Shylah Gordon, aged 8, attach a bauble to a Christmas tree during a visit to children's charity Coram in London, Britain, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush passes through Magnolia, Texas, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, along the train route from Spring to College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Pool)
A staff member at the poses for a photograph next to the Museum of Architecture's Gingerbread City at the V&A Museum, in London, Britain, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE A MULTIPLE LONG EXPOSURE WAS USED IN THE CREATION OF THIS IMAGE) In this combination of two images the interior of Salisbury Cathedral is illuminated by trails of candles carried by choristers during the annual 'darkness to light' advent procession and a 4-metre illuminated globe called The Light by artist Richard McLester, on December 1, 2018 in Salisbury, England. The service, which begins with the medieval cathedral in total darkness and silence before the Advent Candle is lit at the West End, is one of the most popular services of the liturgical year. The annual advent service, which also takes place tonight, is seen by several thousand people, is a mix of music and readings during which two great candlelit processions move around the different spaces in the over 750-year-old building which, by the end, is illuminated by more than 1300 candles and is a spectacular start to the Christmas season. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
The Special Air Mission 41 plane awaits the arrival of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush's casket before the former president's departure ceremony at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas, U.S., December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People walk under trees decorated with Christmas lights at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/David W Cerny TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sara Sullivan recovers a figurine from her Magalia, Calif., home, destroyed by the Camp Fire, on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A health care worker carries a baby suspected of being infected with Ebola virus in a hospital in Oicha, North Kivu Province of Democratic Republic of Congo, December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A migrant girl, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, wears a raincoat to protect from rainfall at a temporary shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man wearing a storm trooper costume holds a sketchbook belonging to costume designer John Mollo, and showing illustrations for Star Wars costumes, during a photo-call ahead of an auction at Bonhams in central London, Britain December 6, 2018. REUTERS/ Toby Melville TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Walking figures depicting late US rock and roll legend Elvis Presley appear on a traffic light switching from green to red in Friedberg near Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. Presley served in Friedberg from October 1958 to March 1960 as a soldier in the US Armed Forces.( AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Spectators cheer and wave flags as the Union Pacific funeral train carrying the casket of former President George H.W. Bush passes through Navasota, Texas, U.S. December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Ultra-Orthodox Jews light candles during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood in Jerusalem, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. The Jewish festival of light is an eight-day commemoration of the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to put statues of Greek gods in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Polar bear Nanook plays with a ball as she celebrates her first birthday in the zoo in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (Marcel Kusch/dpa via AP)
A man takes a snapshot of charred cars the day after a demonstration, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
An artist gets ready backstage to perform an Indian art form of dance called "Ottamthullal" at the annual eight-day long Vrischikolsavam festival, which features a colourful procession of decorated elephants along with drum and trumpets concerts, at Sree Poornathrayeesa temple in Kochi, India, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Sivaram V TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A winter swimmer swims in a frozen river at a park in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China December 6, 2018. Picture taken December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long holds up a replica of the military seaplane he was standing watch on when Japanese warplanes attacked Hawaii 77 years ago, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 at his home in Napa, California. Long was alone on the anchored plane in the middle of Kaneohe Bay, across the island from Pearl Harbor, when the attack happened, watching from afar as the bombs and bullets killed and wounded thousands. When the gunfire finally reached his plane, setting the aircraft ablaze, he jumped into the water and found himself swimming through fire to safety. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Michael Cohen, former lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building on New York's Park Avenue, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. In the latest filings Friday, prosecutors will weigh in on whether Cohen deserves prison time and, if so, how much. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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After a turbulent week in markets, investors "can be reassured that if there is a deal that can be made that will assure the protection of U.S. technology...and get additional market access...the president wants us to do it," Lighthizer said. "If not we will have tariffs."
In Argentina last weekend, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a truce that delayed the planned Jan. 1 U.S. hike of tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods while they negotiate a trade deal.
However, the arrest of a top executive at China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's [HWT.UL] has roiled global markets amid fears that it could further inflame the China-U.S. trade row. In Beijing on Sunday, China's foreign ministry protested the arrest to the U.S. ambassador.
In a series of appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows, Lighthizer, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, and trade adviser Peter Navarro insisted the trade talks with China would not be derailed by the arrest, which they deemed solely a law enforcement matter.
U.S. equity markets have staked much on the outcome of the talks. Stocks climbed early in the week on optimism tensions between the two sides were easing, then cratered after Trump claimed he was a "tariff man" after all. He also seemed to indicate the talks could be extended.
But Lighthizer, in his first comments since being appointed to lead the negotiations, said the United States will need concessions across a number of areas in coming weeks if the higher tariffs are to be voided.
That includes demands for increased purchases of U.S. goods in a more open Chinese market, as well as "structural changes" to a system that, for example, forces American firms to turn over technology to Chinese partners as a condition of doing business.
"We need agricultural sales and we need manufacturing sales. We need structural changes on this fundamental issue of non-economic technology transfer," Lighthizer said.
The demands are similar to those made under previous Democratic and Republican presidents, but Lighthizer said he felt Trump's willingness to go beyond "dialogue" and impose tariffs will produce results.
(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)