Finance

Mnuchin: Trade war with China is ‘on hold’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that a trade war with China is “on hold.”

“We’re putting the trade war on hold,” Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“We have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework,” he added.

{mosads}Chinese state media, meanwhile, also reported that Washington and Beijing have agreed to back off on tariffs.

“The two sides reached a consensus, will not fight a trade war, and will stop increasing tariffs on each other,” Vice-Premier Liu He said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The apparent detente comes a day after the U.S. and China released a joint statement saying the two nations agreed to take measures to “substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China.” 

“Both sides agreed on meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports,” the statement said.

Mnuchin on Sunday would not specify how much in American products the Chinese would buy. He suggested the Trump administration could reimpose tariffs if China does not follow through.

Senior U.S. officials — including Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross — met in recent days with Chinese officials as the two nations attempted to broker an agreement and avoid a trade war.

Last Thursday, President Trump tempered expectations about whether the talks would be fruitful. The two nations have spent recent months exchanging threats of steep tariffs.

“You’ve never seen people come over from China to work on a trade deal. Now, will that be successful? I tend to doubt it,” Trump told reporters.

“China’s become very spoiled … because they always got 100 percent of whatever they wanted from the United States,” Trump said. “But we can’t allow that to happen anymore.”

Updated at 12:35 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Robert Lighthizer Steven Mnuchin Wilbur Ross

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