Sun, 25 Aug 2019

FUKUOKA, Japan - The United States has called on China to resume the stalled trade talks and return to the negotiating table or face more tariffs from the Trump administration.

"If they want to come back to the table and complete the deal on the terms that we were continuing to negotiate, that would be great," The New York Times quoted US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as saying on Saturday.

"If not, as the president said, we'll move on with tariffs," he added.

Mnuchin's comments came on the sidelines of a meeting of finance ministers of G-20 economies in Fukuoka, Japan, and ahead of the Treasury Secretary's meeting with Yi Gang, the Governor of the People's Bank of China.

That meeting, which is scheduled for Sunday, would be the first contact between top American and Chinese economic officials since trade talks between the world's two largest economies abruptly broke down last month.

US President Donald Trump is expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at the G-20 leaders' summit in Osaka, Japan, to be held later this month. On his part, Mnuchin said that the meeting would be pivotal in determining the direction of the trade war.

Trump has said that he could impose more tariffs on China if it does not agree to his terms.

The US secured a deal with Mexico on Friday over the immigration crisis. The fact that Mexico yielded to Trump's threats of imposing more tariffs could embolden the president further when it comes to China, according to The New York Times.

Mnuchin declined to say whether China had been negotiating in good faith, but he put the blame for the collapse of the talks on his Chinese counterparts.

He said, "There's no question where we are now, that this is a result of them backtracking on significant commitments," adding, "For whatever reasons they decided to do that, I'll leave to them."The Treasury Secretary also said that his meeting with Yi was not part of trade negotiations, but he acknowledged that the subject would come up. He noted that the meeting would have two parts -- one focused on general macroeconomic issues, such as currencies, and a separate discussion about trade.

Meanwhile, Yi, in an interview with Bloomberg News on Friday, had said that the discussion of trade with Mnuchin would be "uncertain and difficult," and he insisted that China could withstand a prolonged trade fight with the US.

Washington and Beijing have largely been at a standoff since negotiations broke down last month. The countries are unable to find a compromise on Trump's tariffs, with the US arguing for keeping many of them and Beijing insisting that they must come off as part of any trade deal. (ANI)

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