Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the United States and China are stepping back from a possible trade war after two days of talks that produced "meaningful progress."
Despite not getting China to agree to trim its overall trade surplus with America by a specific amount, Mnuchin said the U.S. team did get a number of commitments on a framework for reducing the deficit over time, including big increases in purchases of farm products and a doubling of purchases of U.S. energy products.
"We are putting the trade war on hold," Mnuchin said on "Fox News Sunday."
Because of the progress made in negotiations, Mnuchin said the Trump administration has agreed to put on hold punitive 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.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday the U.S. trade war with China is 'on hold' after 'meaningful progress' was made.
Chinese President Xi Jinping responded with $50 billion in tariffs against U.S. products after the United States threatened $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese products.
Both Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow, head of the president's National Economic Council, said that while China did not agree to meet the $200 billion deficit reduction goal that President Donald Trump has discussed, the Chinese did agree to steps that could ultimately mean big cuts in the trade gap between the two nations.
Mnuchin said the actions China has agreed to take as part of the framework the two countries have reached will result in boosting sales of U.S. farm products to China by 35 to 40 percent in this year alone. He said the agreement could result in doubling sales of U.S. energy products, which Mnuchin said could mean an increase in sales of U.S. energy products by $50 billion to $60 billion over the next three to five years.
Mnuchin said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross would soon be traveling to China to follow up on the discussions held Thursday and Friday in Washington.
On Saturday, the White House issued a joint statement from world's two biggest economic powers in which the U.S. and China pledged to take measures to "substantially reduce" America's massive trade deficit.
In the statement, Beijing committed to "significantly increase" its purchases of American goods and services, saying that the increase would "meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development." The two countries also agreed on "meaningful increases" of U.S. agriculture and energy exports and greater efforts to increase trade in