Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday he expects the mid-December round of tariffs on Chinese goods to take effect if no deal is reached between the two economic superpowers.
“I have every expectation if there’s not a deal those tariffs would go in place, but I expect we’ll have a deal,” Mnuchin said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Mnuchin’s commitment to keeping tariffs on the table comes days after President Donald Trump announced a “fundamental agreement in principle” for a “phase one deal” following a round of renewed high-level negotiations with Beijing in Washington.
The two countries addressed intellectual property rights, financial services — including currency and foreign exchange — and “very significant structural issues” dealing with agriculture, a key sticking point in the tit-for-tat tariff battle, Mnuchin said.
Mnuchin said the U.S. expects China to buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of agriculture products. He also said that China will be removing some tariffs on imports of U.S. goods.
Trump, in an all-caps tweet Sunday evening, exclaimed, “CHINA HAS ALREADY BEGUN AGRICULTURAL PURCHASES FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS & RANCHERS!”
In the Oval Office on Friday, Mnuchin said the White House would hold off on Tuesday’s deadline to impose more tariffs on China. The next tariff deadline is Dec. 15.
But he expects that, pending more meetings with Beijing officials, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be able to finish the deal during their anticipated meeting in Chile in a few weeks.