"As of now, there's no invitation and there's no plan" for a high-level meeting. "That doesn't mean we won't go," he said.
U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators are working on nailing down a Phase 1 trade deal text for their presidents to sign next month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday, adding that he was prepared to travel to Beijing for more meetings if necessary. Mnuchin, in a wide-ranging news conference at the Treasury, said that there was no invitation from Beijing for another high level meeting with Vice Premier Liu He on the trade deal outlined last week, but deputies were holding phone conferences this week.
“As of now, there’s no invitation and there’s no plan” for a high-level meeting. “That doesn’t mean we won’t go,” he said. Mnuchin said it was likely that he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would meet with Liu in Santiago, Chile, before President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are due to meet at a Nov. 16-17 summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries. Mnuchin said the Trump administration’s “objective” was for the agreement to be signed at the APEC summit.
The Treasury chief, who has played a central role in the U.S.-China trade negotiations, dismissed suggestions that China had not agreed with the United States on the substance of the initial phase outlined by Trump last Friday.
He also said the Trump administration has made no decision on how to address planned 10% tariffs on $156 billion of Chinese goods due to take effect on Dec. 15 after opting not to proceed with a tariff rate increase slated for Tuesday.
“We have not gone to the president with any recommendation or any decision — obviously what we were all focused on was the October tariffs,” Mnuchin said. “We’ll address that as we continue to have conversations.”