Mnuchin Considering Visit to China to Discuss Trade Practices

Mnuchin Considering Visit to China to Discuss Trade Practices

Troy Powers
April 24, 2018

The Commerce Ministry in Beijing said Sunday that China welcomes a visit from the Beijing to discuss trade issues and confirms it has "received information" regarding Washington's interest in such a trip.

"Our objective with China is to have free and fair and reciprocal trade", Mnuchin said in an interview with the Fox Business Network.

Mnuchin said as much during a news conference Saturday, telling reporters "a trip is under consideration", according to CNN.

The US and China have proposed imposing tariffs of $50 billion on each others' products and Trump is looking to impose tariffs on up to $100 billion more of Chinese goods. While many International Monetary Fund member countries would object to such a broadening of the IMF's powers, the final communique did state, "We will work together to reduce excessive global imbalances in a way that supports global growth". In a closing communique, the International Monetary Fund expressed concern that the rising trade tensions could dim what at the moment are bright prospects for the global economy, which is expected to grow this year at the fastest pace since 2011.

The short statement suggests there may be room for negotiation amid the escalating tension between China and the US.

While the IMF is not a trade venue, the fund will continue providing analytical work to explain "the role played by trade now in supporting growth", she said. "I'm not going to make a comment on timing, nor do I have anything confirmed". "Equally, I think when you look at China's policy stands - also what the Europeans might do if there are any measures targeting China, I think we can expect to see retaliation, and that's where the trade war scenario really begins to potentially become a real one".

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As such borrowers, global financial institutions, and other public and private creditors must collectively address these risks before they develop into full blown crises, Mnuchin said in his address to the Development Committee of the World Bank.

"We agree that the IMF will need to consider the effects of technology and digitalisation in its macroeconomic analysis, including on inequality, productivity, labor and financial markets, fiscal policy, monetary policy, and measurement of the digital economy", it said.

The members of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, or IMFC, released a communique on Saturday after a 2-day meeting in Washington.

"We strongly reject moves toward protectionism and away from the rules-based worldwide trade order", said Mar Guomundsson, governor of the Central Bank of Iceland.

"The Chinese side has received information that the United States side hopes to come to Beijing to discuss economic and trade issues".

Mnuchin said China has been "very helpful" in supporting U.S. sanctions against North Korea, and he welcomed Kim's suspension of nuclear testing that was announced less than a day earlier.