Today, Steven Mnuchin the US Treasury Secretary, said that summit that aims to seal a trade deal between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump will not happen at the end of this month as previously discussed since more work is required in the negotiations between the U.S. and China
Talking to reporters after a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing, Mnuchin said that both sides were “working in good faith” to work in reaching a deal “as quickly as possible.”
Mnuchin stated: “There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re very comfortable with where we are.”
He continued: “I don’t think there’s anything significantly different on the currency issue from where we were last time.”
Since President Trump delayed a threatened March 1 tariff increase on goods from China following a late February round of negotiations, no new face-to-face meetings have been scheduled in the talks. However, Trump and other administration officials since then have attempted to portray the discussions as still making progress.
As Trump sat down to meet Leo Varadkar, the Irish Prime Minister, at the White House today, Trump told reporters: “We’re doing very well with China talks.”
He added: “We’re getting what we have to get, and I think we’re getting it relatively quickly.”
Yesterday, Trump had acknowledged that Xi may be hesitant to come to the Mar-a-Lago estate of the U.S. president in Florida without an agreement in hand after seeing him end a separate summit in Vietnam with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, without a peace deal. However, he said that he was in no rush to complete a trade deal with China.
Beijing and Washington have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle as officials in the U.S. press China for an end to practices and policies that it argues have given Chinese companies unfair advantages, including limits on access for foreign companies, alleged theft of intellectual property, and subsidizing of industry.
At a separate hearing in the House of Representatives today, Mnuchin said that he is expecting the elements of the discussions to be resolved in the near future, as the two sides pore over a 150-page document that they are working on.
China and the United States have slapped import duties on the products of each other that have cost the two largest economies of the world billions of dollars, disrupted manufacturing supply chains, and roiled markets.
Trump stated: “As to whether or not we’ll strike a final deal, that I would never want to say.”
He stated: “If it’s not a deal that’s a great deal for us, we’re not going to make it.”
A person who is familiar with the matter informed Reuters that there “were rumblings” about a likely meeting to be scheduled late next month.