Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that he was considering taking a trip to China to discuss trade and ease tensions between the U.S. and Beijing over proposed tariffs, Reuters reported.
“A trip is under consideration,” Mnuchin said at a news conference in Washington. “I am not going to make any comment on timing, nor do I have anything confirmed, but a trip is under consideration.”
Mnuchin also refused to elaborate on what he wants from a trade deal with China, saying, “If we have a deal, you’ll know what it looks like when we have it.”
“The Chinese side has received information that the U.S. side hopes to come to Beijing to discuss economic and trade issues. China welcomes this,” the China Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website, confirming it had received information about Mnuchin’s potential visit.
When asked whether he believed the U.S. and China could put an end to the rising tensions between them, Mnuchin said the U.S. is “cautiously optimistic.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused China of stealing U.S. intellectual property, which the Trump administration estimated costs the American economy billions of dollars per year.
Earlier this year, China and the U.S. began imposing a series of back-and-forth, retaliatory tariffs. This eventually resulted in China filing a World Trade Organization (WTO) report against the United States.
President Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow has previously stated that the president would be open to forming a coalition to discuss trade between the two nations.