Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that President Donald Trump may strike a deal with China at any time, but is focused on reaching the best deal possible for American workers.
"The president is right: He could make an appointment at any time. But he just wants to do a good deal," Mnuchin told CNBC from the White House.
"And let me just remind you that these discussions have been going on for two and a half years," he added. "And President Trump will only agree to a deal if it's a good deal, a deal that's good for US companies and American workers."
Although deliberations between the world's two largest economies have been unstable in recent months, Trump on Wednesday announced that he would defer an impending toll on China in a "gesture of goodwill."
"The President delayed it because of a request from the Vice Premier," Mnuchin noted. "The optics for us to raise tariffs on October 1
The marginally positive dialogue between the United States and China in recent weeks comes after a summer of volatility between the world's two largest economies.
Trump abruptly ended a ceasefire with China on August 1, announcing 10% tariffs on $ 300 billion Chinese goods, some of which came into force on September 1. The President delayed the introduction of some of the duties to curb the shopping season .
China responded in strikes later in August, introducing with effect from September 1 and December 15, the two dates when Trump's tariffs come into effect on Beijing's goods. It also confirmed that it is in light of the Trump administration's new tariffs.
Asked Thursday whether Trump could settle for a run-down, temporary deal in an effort to secure the US economy ahead of the 2020 election, Mnuchin said the president still has all the options available to him. Including raising taxes on imports from China.
"The president is a dealer. And he is prepared to keep those tariffs in place and is willing to raise tariffs if we need to raise tariffs," Mnuchin said. "When it comes to agriculture, we expect and want them to buy agriculture. We look at it as a personal attack on our farmers. They need our agriculture."
"This is not just about selling them soybeans, but we want to sell them soybeans," he said.