Mnuchin: We were ‘about 90 percent of the way there’ on China trade deal

Aaron Schwartz

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday said that the U.S. was close to reaching a deal with China before negotiations fell apart last month, and expressed optimism about the potential for a deal in the future.

“We were about 90 percent of the way there and I think there’s a path to complete this,” Mnuchin said in an appearance on CNBC.

He added that a balanced deal would benefit both countries.

{mosads}“The message we want to hear is that they want to come back to the table and continue because I think there is a good outcome for their economy and the U.S. economy to get balanced trade and to continue to build on this relationship,” he said. 

President Trump and China President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet at the G-20 summit, which takes place Friday and Saturday in Japan. 

“I’m hopeful that we can move forward with a plan,” Mnuchin told CNBC. “President Trump and President Xi have a very close working relationship. We had a productive meeting at the last G-20.”

At the previous G-20 summit last year, the two leaders of the world’s two largest economies agreed to halt their trade war.
Last month, however, trade talks collapsed between the two countries. In response, Trump increased tariffs on a $200 billion list of Chinese imports. China responded by raising tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. products.
The Trump has since threatened an additional $300 billion in tariffs on China.
CNBC on Wednesday initially reported that Mnuchin had said a U.S.-China trade was 90 percent complete but later issued a correction noting that he said “we were about 90 percent of the way there” in the past tense after markets reacted positively to what was originally reported.
Trump appeared on the rival Fox Business Network by phone on Wednesday morning, where he told “Mornings with Maria” host Maria Bartiromo that additional tariffs are possible if a deal cannot be struck between the two economic superpowers.
“This never happened to China. Now what is happening is people are moving out of China. Companies are moving out of China, by the way, some are coming back to the United States because they don’t want to pay the tariff, etc., etc.,” Trump said.
“But it’s been an incredible thing. Am I happy now? Absolutely. Now I would do additional tariffs by very substantial additional tariffs if that doesn’t work if we don’t make a deal,” he added.
– Joe Concha contributed
Updated: 10:33 a.m.
Tags China China-U.S. trade war Donald Trump economy Maria Bartiromo Steve Mnuchin Steven Mnuchin Xi Jinping

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