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US, China putting trade war on hold, Treasury’s Mnuchin says 

Washington, May 21

The US trade war with China is “on hold” after the world’s largest economies agreed to drop their tariff threats while they work on a wider trade agreement, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.

Mnuchin and US President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the agreement reached by Chinese and American negotiators on Saturday set up a framework for addressing trade imbalances in the future.

“We are putting the trade war on hold. Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework,” Mnuchin said in a television interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

On Saturday, Beijing and Washington said they would keep talking about measures under which China would import more energy and agricultural commodities from the United States to narrow the $335 billion annual US goods and services trade deficit with China.

During an initial round of talks this month in Beijing, Washington demanded that China reduce its trade surplus by $200 billion. No dollar figure was cited in the countries’ joint statement on Saturday.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not return a request for comment on Mnuchin’s statement.

Tension between the two sides has been growing since the Trump administration proposed tariffs of $50 billion on Chinese goods and said it might extend the levies to an additional $150 billion. China responded with its own measures targeting US agriculture.

The top US trade official, Robert Lighthizer, said that getting China to open its market to more US exports was significant, but that it was far more important for the United States to resolve issues with China such as forced technology transfers and cyber theft.

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