US, China Putting Trade War on Hold, Treasury’s Mnuchin Says

By Reuters

WASHINGTON—The U.S. trade war with China is “on hold” after the world’s largest economies agreed to drop their tariff threats while they work on a wider trade agreement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.

Mnuchin and President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the agreement reached by Chinese and American negotiators on Saturday set up a framework for addressing trade imbalances in the future.

“We are putting the trade war on hold. Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework,” Mnuchin said in a television interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

On Saturday, Beijing and Washington said they would keep talking about measures under which China would import more energy and agricultural commodities from the United States to close the $335 billion annual U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China.

During an initial round of talks this month in Beijing, Washington demanded that China reduce its trade surplus by $200 billion. No dollar figure was cited in the countries’ joint statement on Saturday.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not return a request for comment on Mnuchin‘s statement.

Kudlow told CBS “Face the Nation” it was too soon to lock in the $200 billion figure. “The details will be down the road. These things are not so precise,” he said.

%image_alt%
President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow is interviewed at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 6, 2018. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)

Beijing agreed to take measures to substantially reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China and offered to make structural reforms, such as lowering tariffs and non-tariff barriers, that will allow the United States to export goods worth billions of dollars more, Kudlow said earlier on ABC’s “This Week.”

Trump was in a “very positive mood about this,” Kudlow said.

However, he said there was no trade deal reached.

“There’s no agreement for a deal,” Kudlow told ABC. “We never anticipated one. There’s a communique between the two great countries, that’s all. And in that communique, you can see where we’re going next.”

One next step will be dispatching Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to China to look at areas where there will be significant increases, including energy, liquefied natural gas, agriculture, and manufacturing, Mnuchin and Kudlow said.

Mnuchin said the United States expects to see a big increase of between 35 percent and 40 percent in agricultural exports to China this year alone and a doubling of energy purchases over the next three to five years.

“We have specific targets. I am not going to publicly disclose what they are. They go industry by industry,” Mnuchin said.

Saturday’s statement made no mention of whether there would be a relaxation of paralyzing restrictions on Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp imposed last month by the U.S. Commerce Department.

The action was related to the violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea and banned American companies from selling semiconductors and other components to ZTE, causing the Shenzhen-based company to cease operations.

%image_alt%
Visitors pass in front of the ZTE stand on the first day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Feb. 27, 2017. (Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump said last week he had directed Ross to put ZTE back in business, but Kudlow said any changes would be minimal.

“If any of the remedies are altered they are still going to be very, very, tough, including big fines, compliance measures, new management, new boards,” he said. “Do not expect ZTE to get off scot-free. Ain’t going to happen.”

By Lindsay Dunsmuir and Howard Schneider

 

Watch Next:

“I Was a Communist Slave”

A story of tragedy, faith, and resistance in the face of brutal totalitarianism, Memoir of a Communist Slave is one man’s journey to uncover what he believes has held him and his people hostage for too long.

 
 
 

Trump Removes Ex-cia Chief Brennan’s Security Clearance

Trump Removes Ex-cia Chief Brennan’s Security Clearance
President Donald Trump removed the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan for lying, leveraging the clearance, ...
READ MORE >
 
US

Suspected ISIS Member Wanted For Murder in Iraq Arrested in California

Suspected ISIS Member Wanted For Murder in Iraq Arrested in California
A suspected ISIS member was arrested in Sacramento, California, on Aug. 15 after he was wanted for the ...
READ MORE >
 

Turkey’s Move to Double Tariffs on US Goods a ‘Step in the Wrong Direction,’ White House Says

Turkey’s Move to Double Tariffs on US Goods a ‘Step in the Wrong Direction,’ White House Says
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's move to double the tariffs on a range of American imports was "regrettable ...
READ MORE >
 
US

New Mexico Compound Detainee Handed to Immigration Services

New Mexico Compound Detainee Handed to Immigration Services
One of the adults arrested for child abuse at a makeshift compound in New Mexico desert has been ...
READ MORE >