US calls on China, EU to make tariff concessions

22 Juillet, 2018, 17:52 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that the overall U.S. economy has not been harmed by the trade battles set off by President Donald Trump's get-tough policies although some individual sectors have been hurt. But there have been microeconomic effects on individual businesses, he said, adding that the administration was closely monitoring these and looking at ways to help US farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Group of 20 nations summit, Mnuchin tried to assuage investor concerns that a currency war was looming.

Mnuchin told Reuters that the sanctions aimed at top Russian companies suspected to be involved in "malign activities" were not meant to destroy the company, Rusal, which the news service reports is working on reestablishing a relationship with us officials.

"I'm not going to go into the exact specifics of what those proposals are and where we stand on them, but, yes, if we can find an acceptable solution, that is our objective", Mnuchin said.

Mnuchin was inflexible in his approach to the European Union following a series of tit-for-tat measures that began with US President Donald Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Lagarde said that taking into account "current announced and in process measures", an International Monetary Fund simulation indicates that in a worst-case scenario, a half point would be cut from global GDP, amounting to some $430 billion. Mnuchin did have about a dozen one-on-one sessions scheduled with other countries.

As for the EU, Mnuchin said it would have to make considerable concessions in order for there to be a free-trade agreement between the two.

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READ NEXT: The trade battle with China keeps escalating.

The U.S. Treasury in April imposed sanctions against billionaire Oleg Deripaska and the eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including Rusal, in response to what it called "malign activities" by Russian Federation. The Trump administration is preparing to impose tariffs on another $200 billion and Trump has threaten4ed to add $300 billion more to that figure.

"Let me be clear, this is not in any way the president trying to intervene in the currency markets whatsoever", Mnuchin said, adding that the United States does not try to manage its currency valuation.

"We purchased about $500 billion of goods from them; they purchased about $130 billion of goods from us".

In addition to the sessions of the G-20, there will be an hour-long meeting among G-7 finance ministers and central bank officials.

"We share a desire to have a more balanced relationship and the balanced relationship is by us selling more goods (to China)".

"Being a real estate person, real estate people obviously follow interest rates", Mnuchin said of Trump.

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