Mnuchin considers traveling to China amid trade spat

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. AFP

"They were trying to pacify the markets and prevent USA stock prices from falling further", said Mei Xinyu, a senior research fellow of the Commerce Ministry's Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation. "While we have turned the corner after a decade of crisis, we agree that there are some dark clouds on the horizon, and we need collectively and individually to focus on deeper economic reforms to ensure higher, sustainable and inclusive growth", he told reporters.

The US has resisted pressure to back off President Donald Trump's protectionist America First trade policies.

In a statement at the end of three days of meetings yesterday, the IMFC heeding to the voice of countries like India, the US, Britain and France, called on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to work on a multi-pronged programme to enhance debt transparency and sustainability.

Many have used the finance meetings to protest against Trump's protectionist trade policies, which mark a reversal of seven decades of United States support for ever-freer global commerce.

Trade relations between China and the U.S. have deteriorated in recent weeks.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the steel and aluminium tariffs could lead to retaliation by other countries and "a significant risk that the situation could escalate".

The IMF projects global growth of 3.9 percent this year and next but warns that the risks are tilted to the downside.

"The intensifying challenges to multilateralism call for an unequivocal and forceful voice of the IMF and WTO in favour of a rule-based worldwide trading system and against protectionism", he added. "Finance ministers (from around the world) are gathering together".

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The timing is unclear, and he did not provide details on the topics to be discussed but said "a trip is under consideration".

A trip by the US Treasury secretary to China could signal a breakthrough in the spat between the world's two biggest economies, which have threatened to slap tariffs on each other.

'The discussions were really around the governor's actions at the PBOC and certain actions they've announced in terms of opening their markets which we very much encourage and appreciate, ' Mnuchin said.

When asked whether he believed the US and China could put an end to the rising tensions between them, Mnuchin said the "cautiously optimistic".

Mnuchin indicated he's involved in a "dialogue" with the Chinese government to resolve the trade dispute.

The members of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, or IMFC, released a communique on Saturday after a 2-day meeting in Washington.

Mnuchin said China has been "very helpful" in supporting US sanctions against North Korea, and welcomed the regime leader's announcement on Friday to suspend nuclear testing.