The world’s two biggest economies are pulling back from the brink of a trade war after making progress in talks aimed at bringing down America’s massive trade deficit with China.
“We are putting the trade war on hold,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”
The Associated Press reported that after high-level talks Thursday and Friday, Beijing agreed in a joint statement with the U.S. to “substantially reduce” America’s trade deficit with China — but didn’t commit to cut the gap by any specific amount. The Trump administration had sought to slash the deficit by $200 billion.
Still, Mnuchin said the two countries had made “meaningful progress” and that the Trump administration has agreed to put on hold proposed tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese products. China had promised to retaliate in a move that threatened a tit-for-tat trade war.
Mnuchin said they expect to see a big increase — 35 to 45 percent this year alone — in U.S. farm sales to China. He also forecast a doubling in sales of U.S. energy products to the Chinese market, increasing energy exports by $50 billion to $60 billion in the next three to five years.
Mnuchin said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been part of the U.S. negotiating team, would soon be traveling to China to follow up on last week’s discussions.