Mnuchin says Huawei issue concerns national security, is separate from trade

Mae Love
June 10, 2019

He tweeted Sunday that he had had a "constructive" meeting with China's central bank governor Yi Gang, during which there was a "candid discussion on trade issues.".

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso appeared to have wearied of the issue by the end of the meetings. "That slowdown has gone on for the previous year", Steven Mnuchin told reporters on Saturday.

Since the blacklist, the two countries have imposed tit-for-tat trade tariffs against each other and the Trump administration officially designated Huawei a national security threat last month.

The IMF warned last week that a continuing U.S.

President Trump on the timeline for a decision on additional China tariffs.

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to meet at a Group of 20 summit late this month, the USA treasury secretary said, offering a prospective break in trade hostilities that are weighing on global growth.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned the tariffs could cut global GDP by 0.5% or about US$455 billion in 2020 and said trade conflicts constituted the "principal threat" to the global economic outlook.

"Most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified", the G20 statement said, adding that they "stood ready to take further action" if required.

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Washington has put Huawei on a blacklist that effectively bans USA firms from doing business with it, and has put pressure on its allies also to shut Huawei out, arguing that Huawei could use its technology to carry out espionage for Beijing.

However, the G20 finance leaders agreed to compile common rules by 2020, .in order to close loopholes that are used by global tech giants to reduce their corporate taxes.

Trump took that step in May and will be ready to impose similar 25 percent tariffs on a remaining $300bn list of Chinese goods around the time of the Osaka summit.

A prolonged U.S. -China trade war will force more companies to shift their supply chain activities out of China. He also said that, as of Saturday, there were no plans for cabinet-level officials to travel to Beijing or Washington to prepare for the two presidents' summit. Together they would encompass nearly everything China exports to the U.S.

At the meeting of trade and economy ministers in Tsukuba, a government research hub, the officials endorsed a similar set of recommendations, while also issuing a mild call to "handle trade tensions and to foster mutually beneficial trade relations".

"We strive to realize a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, to keep our markets open", they said.

Mr Mnuchin had earlier played down expectations for the meeting with Mr Yi, which took place on the sidelines of a gathering of Group of 20 (G-20) finance ministers and central bankers in Fukuoka, Japan. Much attention at the G-20 meetings this year has focused on how to adapt tax systems and regulation to the increasingly digital nature of business.

The weakness has prompted central banks, most recently in Australia and India, to slash interest rates to fend off recession.

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