WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he may travel to China, a move that could ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies, as international policymakers acknowledged Beijing needs to change its trade practices.
The United States has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese imports to try to force changes in Beijing’s industrial policies, which Washington says are aimed at acquiring American intellectual property.
Mnuchin told reporters he was continuing to have discussions with his Chinese counterparts to try to resolve the differences over trade, but said he may go to Beijing.
“A trip is under consideration,” Mnuchin said at a news conference during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings 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 declined to say what he wants from a trade deal with China, adding, “If we have a deal, you’ll know what it looks like when we have it.”
China has threatened retaliation against U.S. exports if Washington pushes ahead with the tariffs. The row, which comes as the world economy records its strongest growth in years, cast a pall over the semi-annual gathering of the world’s finance officials.
IMF Managing Christine Lagarde warned this week that a U.S.-China trade war threatened to damage confidence, investment and growth. On Saturday, she told a news conference there would be no winners from such a conflict.
“It is important that as a global community we keep trade open, we ensure that we