Trade War With China Can Hopefully Be Prevented, Hopes U.S. Treasury Sec. Mnuchin

The U.S. and China could end their trade hostilities and it is hoped that an agreement can be reached between the two countries in order to satisfy U.S. President Donald Trump not to impose tariffs on at least $50 billion worth of goods imported from China, said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

He said this in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.

“We’re having very productive conversations with them,” Mnuchin said. “I’m cautiously hopeful we reach an agreement.”

President Trump now wants to protect technologies that are considered to be strategic for the country and for this purpose, Mnuchin was direct by Trump last Thursday to suggest new restrictions that could be placed on Chinese companies in the U.S. within the next 60 days. A $100 billion fall in the trade deficit with China is desired by him, Trump also had said.

A plan to impose tariffs on U.S. exports into China worth $3 billion was announced by the China just a day later as a part of its retaliatory measure to Trumps tariffs on steel and aluminum. The announcement by Trump and subsequently China has e dot a rout in the global markets.

There could be more measures announced by China even though the present measure is considered to be as measured by some analysts. The future list of tariffs could include airplanes, computer chips and the tourism industry, even as the authorities in Beijing are still studying the impact of tariffs on other U.S. products, said the newspaper China Daily on Saturday. The news report citied Wei Jianguo, a former vice commerce minister.

The two countries re are attempting “to see if we can reach an agreement as to what fair trade is for them to open up their markets, reduce their tariffs, stop forced technology transfer” even as they try to reduce the trade deficit, Mnuchin said.

Earlier, the Wall Street had reported that some specific requests were sent to the Vice Premier of China Liu He through a letter by both Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

According to the news report, the U.S. demanded greater access to the Chinese financial market by U.S. companies, more purchase of U.S. semiconductors by China and reduced tariffs on U.S. cars in China. Further, a visit o China for further negotiations is also being contemplated by Mnuchin the report said.

“Unless we have an acceptable agreement that the president signs off on,” the U.S. will proceed with tariffs, Mnuchin said on Sunday.

“We’re not afraid of a trade war, but that’s not our objective,” he said. “In a negotiation you have to be prepared to take action.”

He’s going to encourage that “calm heads prevail” on the potential trade war, said Apple’s Tim Cook said during a forum in Beijing on Saturday.

“The countries that embrace openness do exceptional and the countries that don’t, don’t,” he said. “It’s not a matter of carving things up between sides.”

(Adapted from Bloomberg.com)

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