Rebalancing China trade relationship a priority in a second Trump term, Mnuchin says

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: A container ship sits docked at the Port of Oakland on May 13, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Published Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Trump administration will continue to work on making U.S. trade with China fairer in a second term, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday.

Mnuchin, speaking on a moderated video chat for a Milken Instititure conference, said that while President Donald Trump has made some progress in rebalancing the trade relationship, more needs to be done.

“China has a large, growing middle class, over 300 million people. If U.S. companies and U.S. workers can compete for that business, it’s one of the largest opportunities,” Mnuchin said.

“If we can’t compete for that business fairly, then they should not have free access to the U.S. system. This needs to be a fair, recirpocal trading relationship.”

While Mnuchin offered no specifics of how a second term Trump administration would go about trying to change the trade relationship, he did say China owed the United States and the rest of the world more information on early efforts to combat coronavirus.

“I do think China needs to be much more transparent about how did COVID start, how did it get around the rest of the world and why they shut down travel inside of China and didn’t shut it down outside,” he said.

Mnuchin also said he expects to be back in a second Trump term as the Treasury Department chief.

“Well, if he wins, I plan to stay on. And let me be clear, if he loses, I definitely don’t plan on staying on,” Mnuchin said.

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