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Mnuchin says Trump could ease up on Huawei if trade talks advance

Mnuchin says Trump could ease up on Huawei if trade talks advance

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the US remains open to continued negotiations with China on trade - just don't expect any break through this weekend.

"If they want to come back to the table and have a real agreement we will negotiate".

"If we can't have that, the end result will be that my expectation is that many companies will move their production out of China to other locations", due to tariffs, Mr Mnuchin said.

Mr Mnuchin told reporters on the sidelines of the G-20 finance leaders meeting in Japan that the Trump-Xi meeting was the "next important meeting" in the trade dispute.

That meeting, which is scheduled for Sunday, would be the first contact between top American and Chinese economic officials since trade talks between the world's two largest economies abruptly broke down last month.

The meetings were reportedly held with companies identified as relevant by the Chinese as the country's response to Trump's administration adding Chinese technology giant Huawei to a trade blacklist.

In the second half of the day, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors will meet behind closed doors to discuss a road map for a new global tax system that meets the demands of the digital age.

Washington has put Huawei on a blacklist that effectively bans USA firms from doing business with it, and has put pressure on its allies also to shut Huawei out, arguing that Huawei could use its technology to carry out espionage for Beijing.

Mnuchin said Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would meet at a June 28-29 G20 summit in Osaka. Beijing has counterpunched by targeting $110 billion worth of American products, focusing on farm goods such as soybeans in a deliberate effort to inflict pain on Trump supporters in the US heartland.

Tariffs imposed by the world's top two economies could make a "significant dent" in the global recovery, added Lagarde.

"As the president has said, if we can get the right agreement, that's great".

He, however, warned the United States would press on with tariffs if a deal could not be reached.

He said, "There's no question where we are now, that this is a result of them backtracking on significant commitments", adding, "For whatever reasons they chose to do that, I'll leave to them".

He acknowledged that other policymakers had voiced concerns over the economic impact of a prolonged trade war but pointed to a potential boon for other countries.

By a quirk of the calendar, G20 trade ministers are also meeting the same weekend in Japan but the finance ministers will be tackling the current tensions and their economic consequences.

The U.S. government has expressed concern in the past that the European push for a "digital tax" unfairly targets U.S. tech giants. "If they don't, we'll proceed with our tariffs", Mnuchin told reporters on Saturday.

"The critical meeting will be between the two presidents", said Mnuchin.

The representatives from Japan, US, China, France and the United Kingdom supported modifying their current regulations that allow digital giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook to be taxed where they are headquartered, and instead implement taxes based on their revenue and number of users in every market where they operate.

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