US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will meet at the G20 leadership summit in Japan at the end of this month, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting between G-20 Finance Ministers and central bankers in the Japanese city of Fukuoka, Mnuchin urged China to return to the terms that the two countries had been negotiating before trade talks fell apart in May. China should come back to the “basis that we were negotiating”, he said.
Mnuchin declined to share his expectations for the meeting between the two Presidents, saying that the US’s objective was to get the “right agreement” with China, reports Efe news.
The protracted trade battle between the US and China is weighing on global growth and business confidence.
Trade talks were derailed after the US accused Chinese negotiators of backtracking on an agreement, and both sides slapped another round of punitive tariffs on the other.
Mnuchin and Chinese central bank Gov. Yi Gang will meet this weekend – the first face-to-face exchange between high-level officials from the two countries since their trade talks fell apart.
But Mnuchin played down the meeting, saying he had “no specific goals” for his one-on-one discussion with Yi on trade issues. “This is not a negotiating meeting,” he added.
The US has also threatened 25 per cent tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods that could begin this month. Mnuchin said that those tariffs “would be ready” after G-20 and “maybe a bit before”, adding that Trump hasn’t made a decision yet.
Apart from imposing punitive tariffs, the US has also restricted Chinese tech giant Huawei’s access to American technology over national-security concerns.
For its part, Beijing has signalled hope for trade talks to resume, although it has also threatened to retaliate with non-tariff measures. Chinese officials have suggested they may restrict exports of rare earth, used in high-tech products, to the US They also announced the creation of a blacklist for foreign companies, and launched an investigation into FedEx Corp. for mis-directing packages.
When asked whether there would be minister-level meetings between the two countries before the G-20 leadership summit, Mnuchin said “we haven’t gotten to that level of logistics” and that as of now, the US had no plans to visit Beijing or receive Chinese officials in Washington.