Mnuchin: US, China trade talks must include currency

Mnuchin: US, China trade talks must include currency
© Anna Moneymaker

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Friday told China that any future trade talks between Washington and Beijing must include currency issues, he said in an interview with Reuters.

“I expressed my concern about the weakness in the (yuan) currency and that as part of any trade discussions, currency has to be part of the discussion,” Mnuchin said of a meeting he had with People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Indonesia. 

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Mnuchin also said that Beijing must identify “action items” to address the two countries’ trade disputes before trade talks could continue. 

“I think we had a productive explanation from his standpoint on those issues,” he said, adding that current circumstances have driven the yuan down against the dollar.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE on the campaign trail promised to label China a currency manipulator, but so far during his time in office, he has not done so.

Beijing and Washington are currently engaged in an escalating trade war, with each side slapping tit-for-tat tariffs on the other.

Last month Trump hit U.S. imports from China with a new 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in goods. Beijing retaliated with $60 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods. The president said he would raise tariffs to 25 percent if the world's two largest economies could not reach a deal.

U.S. and China had also exchanged about $50 billion in tariffs on each other's goods over the summer.

Trump has threatened another $257 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, which would cover all U.S. imports from China. 

Beijing is known to be selective in its targeting of U.S. goods, focusing on goods such as soy that target farmers in agricultural states that Trump relies on for political support.