US Treasury's Mnuchin considering trip to China for trade talks

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U.S.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he is considering a trip to China to work on trade issues and has discussed the potential for market openings in China with Beijing's new central bank chief.

Instead, he said, "we are looking for reciprocal treatment".

Mnuchin said China has been "very helpful" in supporting United States sanctions against North Korea, and welcomed the regime leader's announcement on Friday to suspend nuclear testing. "Unilateral trade restrictions will only inflict harm on the global economy".

Mnuchin encouraged the fund to stay within the bounds of its "core mandate" of promoting advances in employment, income and productivity through monetary stability and open trade.

"The IMF must step up to the plate on this issue, providing a more robust voice and consistently noting when members maintain macroeconomic, foreign exchange, and trade policies that facilitate unfair competitive advantage or lead to imbalanced growth".

US President Donald Trump recently imposed tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from most countries, and has continually railed against China's export surplus. But IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld on Tuesday said that USA measures aimed at narrowing the gap, such as tariffs on metal, will be outweighed by looser fiscal policies that are set to widen it.

Many have used the finance meetings to protest President Donald Trump's protectionist trade policies, which mark a reversal of seven decades of USA support for ever-freer global commerce. Dujovne, whose country is chairing the G-20 this year, met with reporters Friday to summarize talks held as a prelude to the IMF-World Bank meetings. China has responded by threatening to tax USA soybeans and other products. The Trump administration has proposed imposing tariffs on as much as $150 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Aggregate growth in emerging market and developing economies was projected to firm up further, the International Monetary Fund said, with continued strong growth in emerging Asia and a modest upswing in commodity exporters after three years of weak performance.

While Mnuchin was urging the International Monetary Fund to take a tougher stance on trade, officials from other nations were urging the United States and China to step back from a potentially devastating trade war.

'The larger threat is posed by increasing trade tensions and the possibility that we enter a sequence of unilateral, tit-for-tat measures, all of which generate uncertainties for global trade and GDP growth, ' Roberto Azevêdo, director-general of the World Trade Organization, told the IMF's policy committee. Some of the leaders, he said, were focused on exemptions from the tariffs.

The IMF forecasts 3.9 percent growth this year and next, the fastest since 2011, thanks to increasing investment and solids job growth. Most of the world is sharing in the prosperity, making this the broadest economic expansion in a decade.