Mnuchin says he hopes U.S.-China trade talks nearing 'final round'

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 15, 2019

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leaves the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' meeting at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank's 2019 Annual Spring Meetings, in Washington, April 12, 2019.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday a U.S.

Mnuchin said officials in Washington and Beijing held a round of telephone talks last week, with more planned for the coming week, and are discussions on whether further in-person meetings are required. But "I'm hopeful we're getting close to the final round of concluding issues".

Beijing and Washington are seeking a deal to end a bitter trade war marked by tit-for-tat tariffs that have cost the world's two largest economies billions of dollars, disrupted supply chains and rattled financial markets. Washington also wants Beijing to curb industrial subsidies, open its economy wider to US companies and increase purchases of American farm, energy and manufactured goods to shrink a $419 billion USA trade deficit with China.

"This is a very, very detailed agreement, covering issues that have never been dealt with before", Mnuchin added, noting that the text now had seven chapters.

Trade frictions are seen as a the main source of uncertainty for a slowing global economy, but there are more glimmers of hope for a US-China agreement.

"So this is way beyond anything that would have looked like a bilateral investment treaty".

A group of 20 mostly Western finance ministers that met earlier this week in Washington is "going to be working on trying to put together a consortium of about $10 billion of trade finance that would be available for the new government to spark trade", Mnuchin said in a press conference.

And a clause was included in the revised free trade pact with Mexico and Canada, dubbed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"And I would expect that the enforcement mechanism works in both directions".

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