Date
22 October 2018
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed his concerns about the yuan’s recent weakness in his discussions with Chinese central bank governor Yi Gang in Bali, Indonesia this week. Photo: Bloomberg
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed his concerns about the yuan’s recent weakness in his discussions with Chinese central bank governor Yi Gang in Bali, Indonesia this week. Photo: Bloomberg

US-China trade talks must cover currency, says Mnuchin

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday he told China’s central bank chief that currency issues need to be part of any further US-China trade talks and expressed his concerns about the yuan’s recent weakness, Reuters reports.

Mnuchin also told the news agency in an interview that China needs to identify concrete “action items” to rebalance the two countries’ trade relationship.

The US Treasury chief and People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang extensively discussed currency issues on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

“I expressed my concern about the weakness in the [yuan] currency and that as part of any trade discussions, currency has to be part of the discussion,” Mnuchin said of the meeting.

However, media reports said US Treasury staff has not labeled China as a currency manipulator in its recommendation for the department’s semiannual report on foreign exchange rate practices.

In an internal report submitted to Mnuchin, the department did not say that Beijing is manipulating the yuan, but it continued to place China on a monitoring list, Politico reported, citing an administration official familiar with the report.

Bloomberg, citing two people familiar with the matter, also reported that the US Treasury’s staff had advised Mnuchin that China is not manipulating the yuan. The Trump administration is expected to issue the closely watched report on Monday.

However, it is possible that Mnuchin could still revise the final report, according to the reports.

During his campaign for the White House, US President Donald Trump promised to label China as a currency manipulator, which would trigger special negotiations and could lead to punitive duties and other actions.

But the US Treasury has declined to name China a manipulator in the three semiannual currency reports it has sent to Congress since Trump took office early last year.

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CG

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