The US will not slap import duties on imports from China worth $ 150 bn, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Monday. In return, he said, China will not impose $ 50 bn duties, which it has promised to use in retaliation for Washington’s actions. “Both sides agreed to suspend the introduction of duties,” Mnuchin said on CNBC, presenting Washington’s official position.
Over the weekend, Mnuchin issued similar statements, for example, by telling Fox News that the parties did not set as a formal goal to reduce the deficit of the US trade balance with China by $ 200 bn, which US President Donald Trump previously insisted on. The final statement after several days of talks between representatives of Beijing and Washington late last week contained no mentioning of such plans.
Mnuchin, however, told Fox News that there are targets by sectors, for example, China undertakes to increase purchases of the US agricultural products and energy resources. According to him, purchases of agricultural products can increase “by 35-40% only this year,” while energy exports are expected to double to reach the annual figure $ 50-60 bn in the next 3 to 5 years. The Secretary of US Department of Commerce Wilbur Ross will soon go to China to discuss these issues, said Mnuchin, adding: “We put trade war on hold.”
However, on Sunday US Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer issued a statement following the speech of Mnuchin in which he insisted that duties remain an important tool for the protection of American technologies.