Mnuchin Says Again: ‘There Could Be’ a Trade War with China

‘Our expectation is that we don’t think there will be a trade war’

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BRENNAN: "You said on Friday there is the potential of a trade war. How should Americans prepare for that risk?"
MNUCHIN: "Well, actually I was very clear when I discussed I said, our expectation is that we don’t think there will be a trade war. Our objective is to continue to have discussions with China. We want to have free and fairy Cipro call trade. We’re just looking for our companies and our workers to have a level playing field. Right now we have about 500 billion of goods we buy from China and they buy about 135 billion from us. That is one of the single biggest opportunities for American companies and American workers if we are free and fair trade. That’s what the president wants. I don’t expect there will be a trade war. It could be, but I don’t expect it at all but the president is willing to make sure we have free and fair trade as you’ve seen his tweet already this morning. Again, he has very close relationship with president XI we’ll continue to discuss these issues with them."
BRENNAN: "The markets reacted strongly to the acknowledgment of the potential risk here. The president as you said is tweeting this morning that China will take down its trade barriers because it is the right thing to do. Mr. Secretary, has China given any sign of concession since Friday?"
MNUCHIN: "It would be inappropriate for me to comment on what our back channel discussions are."
BRENNAN: "What is the president referring to or just triking optimistic tone based on his friendship?"
MNUCHIN: "Again, I don’t want to comment on specific discussions and where they stand. What I will emphasize is that this is really our objective is free and fair trade. We’ve been talking about this for the last year with them. It’s actually just about a year anniversary since the president’s meeting at Mar-a-Lago. The good news is, president XI and President Trump have shared with the economic teams. We have a common objective to make sure we reduce the trade deficit. President Trump is prepared to defend U.S. Interests."
BRENNAN: "Sir, because you know this has caused such nervousness in the markets which will reopen overnight, has there been any progress so far?"
MNUCHIN: "Again, we’ve committed not to comment on specific conversations and we’re not going to update specific conversations and what they are when there is progress, you’ll know when we reach a deal there’s progress. That’s our objective. So the markets have had a lot of volitility in general. The market is still up a tremendous amount since the election. We should be focused on is the strong economic growth. The tax plan is kicking in our regulatory relief is kick can in, trade has always been the third part of our agenda."
BRENNAN: "That’s why there’s concern this dispute could disrupt economic growth that Republicans run on in November."
MNUCHIN: "That’s true. But let me put this in perspective. It’s only 135 billion of goods in 20 trillion dollar economy. If we can open up Poe a ten trillion dollars economy for us to compete fairly, this is one of the single biggest opportunities long term for U.S. Companies. So whatever happens in trade I don’t expect it to have meaningful impact on our economy and president says factors like agriculture he’s prepared to defend."

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