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Mnuchin Says Future of U.S.-China Trade Negotiations Depends on Talks between Xi and Trump

June 9 , 2019 (EIRNS)—U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin gave an interview to CNBC on June 9 saying that the direction of the U.S.-China trade negotiations will depend on upcoming talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping.

“If China wants to move forward with the deal, we’re prepared to move forward on the terms we’ve done. If China doesn’t want to move forward, then President Trump is perfectly happy to move forward with tariffs to re-balance the relationship,” he said.

“We made enormous progress, I think we had a deal that was almost 90% done. China wanted to go backwards on certain things,” Mnuchin said. “We’ve stopped negotiating.”

“In the case of [their meeting last year in] Buenos Aires, we came out of that, we had direction from the two Presidents, (Trump) put the increases on hold. The President will make a decision after the meeting,” Mnuchin said.

“I believe if China is willing to move forward on the terms that we were discussing, we’ll have an agreement. If they’re not, we will proceed with tariffs,” he stated.

Mnuchin said that the Huawei issue is separate from the trade negotiations: “They’re separate from trade: Both we and China have acknowledged that in our discussions,” he said.

“Now, of course, President Trump, when he has the meeting, to the extent he gets certain comfort on Huawei or other issues, obviously we can talk about national security issues, but these are separate issues, they’re not being linked to trade.

“I think what the President is saying is, if we move forward on trade, that perhaps he’ll be willing to do certain things on Huawei if he gets comfort from China on that, and certain guarantees.”

Mnuchin stressed the strong Trump-Xi relationship and the success of their discussion on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires: “What I would say is we look forward to them meeting, they had a very productive discussion in Buenos Aires—that’s what led to these rounds of negotiation,” he said of Trump and Xi. “I know they have a very close relationship, and if there’s a desire on China’s part to reach a real agreement with us, we will negotiate in good faith.”

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