WASHINGTON DC - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was vague on Wednesday as to the future of trade talks with China, amidst talk that current negotiations have broken down.
Each side has accused the other of reneging, while the U.S. has imposed $200 billion worth of new tariffs, and China has announced it is taking retaliatory measures.
Despite this President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied talks had broken down, describing the current impasse as a "little squabble."
Mnuchin on Wednesday said talks in Washington last week, which spanned just two days, were constructive. He said talks would resume but gave no indication when. The onus will be on the U.S. to travel to Beijing, but no plans have been made.
"My expectation is that we will go to Beijing at some point in the near future to continue those discussions," he told a U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. "We’re continuing discussions. There’s still a lot of work to do."
Mr Trump, in countering negative coverage of the breakdown in talks reminded people that he has an "extraordinary" relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Financial markets around the world have been rattled by the rhetoric coming out of Washingotn. After months of positive remarks about the status of negotiations, Mr Trump started the rot with a tweet announcing the imposition of the new $200 billion in tariffs. Markets have since had a roller-coatser ride driven by the latest tweets and remarks which have confused investors and riled China.