China-US Trade Talks Close To Final Round

Steven Mnuchin
(Photo: REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan)

Steven Mnuchin, the US treasury secretary said on Saturday that China and the U.S. have been making continuous progress in their trade talks. In fact, he said that the talks are almost at its final round due to the latest developments.

"It is more important to get it right than have an arbitrary date," the secretary told the press while speaking at the sidelines of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank that will conclude this weekend. "I'm hopeful we're getting close to the final round of concluding issues."

According to Bloomberg, The U.S. is open to facing "repercussions" if it doesn't live up to its commitments in a potential trade deal with China, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, in a sign that the two sides are edging closer to an accord.

"There are certain commitments that the United States is making in this agreement, and there are certain commitments that China is making," Mnuchin told reporters Saturday at the IMF meetings in Washington. "I would expect that the enforcement mechanism works in both directions, that we expect to honor our commitments, and if we don't, there should be certain repercussions and the same way in the other direction."

China and the U.S. trade war has been ongoing for nine months now and it has dragged on longer than expected. Since January, more efforts were exerted in the talks to put an end to the crisis. Although the U.S. and China have always expressed optimism on the outcomes, not one of them predicted that the talks would be successful.

The American treasury secretary relayed to the finance officials that the discussions were showing significant progress however, he declined to comment on the timeframe in which they expect the talks to finally wrap up. He also revealed that discussions between the two countries were done over the phone in the past week and they are expecting more calls between China's Vice and lead US Trade negotiator Robert E. Lighthizer next week.

The U.S. has been trying to make China agree to a system that would let Washington foist tariffs on goods in case Beijing breaks or fail to follow some of the items in the deal. Mnuchin did not elaborate or give out the details regarding the commitments that the U.S. is making, The South China Post reported.

Meanwhile, the IMF steering committee affirmed that there is a need to resolve trade tensions such as with China and the U.S. in order for reforms to be successful. When the trade war concludes, the economic condition worldwide is also expected to improve.

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