WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that “there’s still a lot of work to do” before finalizing a trade deal with China and voiced support for President Trump’s use of tariffs.
Mnuchin was testifying before a subpanel of the Senate Appropriations Committee when he was asked to give an update on the China talks.
“I think we’re in the 11th round of discussions,” he told the senators. “As I said several weeks ago I think we are close to a historic deal with China that would be good for us and would be good for them. If we can open up markets and compete fairly, I think this is one of the biggest opportunities for American workers and American companies. So we have been working hard on this.”
Mnuchin said the agreement had seven chapters and was “very detailed.”
He noted that two weeks ago the talks hit a rough patch. President Trump explained it as the Chinese trying to renegotiate parts of the deal. This prompted the president to threaten hiking tariffs.
“As I said, my expectation is we will most likely go to Beijing at some point in the near future to continue those discussions and I think it’s President Trump’s expectation to meet with President Xi at the G20 at the end of June,” Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin will travel with Amb. Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative.
Trump’s treasury secretary said the president “is determined that we have free and fair trade.”
“So the president has put in place tariffs to use that in a way to create a fair agreement,” Mnuchin added.
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