US and China plan to hold meetings in January to negotiate a broad truce in their trade dispute, that according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Secretary Mnuchin, speaking in a roundtable interview Tuesday said the 2 sides had held several phone conversations in recent weeks and were in the process of planning the formal face to face formal discussions.
“We are in the process of confirming the logistics of several meetings and we’re determined to make sure that we use the time wisely, to try to resolve this,” Mnuchin said. Both sides are now focused on trying “to document an agreement” by a March 1 deadline for their current tariffs truce to run out. “We expect there will be meetings in January,” he said.
Hawks in The Trump Administration have raised questions about just how much the US should trust any promises of economic reforms made by President Xi given the experience of past administrations in dealing with Beijing. But Secretary Mnuchin said the 2 sides had agreed that any eventual deal would be “enforceable and verifiable and have specific dates on it.”
“We are determined that if we have an agreement it will be specific enough that time frames and details and everything else will be laid out,’’ he said.
Reducing the trade deficit with China remained a major priority for President Trump, but Secretary Mnuchin said the administration understood it would take time and was also focused on securing structural changes in the Chinese economy that would help balance trade.
The US is determined to secure the same market access for American companies to China that Chinese companies get to the US, and Secretary Mnuchin said. “And if we do that and there are structural changes, the trade deficit by definition will be a lot more balanced.”
“I don’t think there is a question of there is a win for them, or a win for us,” Secretary Mnuchin said. “I think that there could be a win for both in the sense of they have a large, growing middle class that wants US goods. So I think there’s an economic outcome that’s good for both of us.’’
President Trump has agreed to put on hold a scheduled increase from 10 to 25% in tariffs on some $200-B in imports from China while the negotiations take place through 1 March 2019.
In return China agreed to resume buying American Soybean (as it has done) and to at least temporarily lower retaliatory tariffs on US auto exports imposed last Summer (as it has done).