Saturday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a US-China trade agreement would go “way beyond” prior efforts to open China’s markets to US companies and hoped that the 2 sides are “close to the final round” of negotiations.
Secretary Mnuchin, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring meetings, said that he and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would hold 2 calls next week with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. The officials also were discussing whether more in-person meetings were necessary to conclude an agreement.
“I think we are hopeful that we are getting close to the final round of concluding issues,” Secretary Mnuchin said.
Beijing and Washington are seeking a deal to end the trade dispute marked by tariffs that have cost the world’s 2 largest economies billions of dollars, disrupted supply chains and rattled financial markets and crippled the Chinese economy.
Secretary Mnuchin said the 2 sides are negotiating an agreement with 7 chapters that would be “the most significant change in the trading relationship in 40 years.”
He said the deal would have “real enforcement on both sides,” adding that the United States was open to being subjected to penalties if it failed to keep its commitments in the deal.
“I would expect that the enforcement mechanism works in both directions, that we expect to honor our commitments, and if we do not, there should be certain repercussions, and the same way in the other direction,” said the Treasury boss, who is playing a Key role in the negotiations with China.
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