Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that President Donald Trump can contract with China at any time, but is focused on getting the best deal possible for American workers.
"The president is right: He could make a deal. At any time. But he just wants to do a very good job," Mnuchin told the White House on CNBC.
"And just to remind you, these discussions have been going on for two and a half years," he added. "And President Trump will only agree to a deal if it's a good deal, a deal that's good for American companies and American workers."
Although discussions between the two largest economies in the world have been volatile in recent months, Trump on Wednesday announced that he would delay the upcoming tariff hike with a "goodwill gesture".
"The President delayed it because of a request from the Deputy Prime Minister," Mnuchin noted. "The optics of us, which raises tariffs on October 1
Trump abruptly ceased fire with China on August 1, announcing 10% tariffs on Chinese goods worth $ 300 billion, some of which came into force on September 1. The President delayed the introduction of some of the trade-mitigation duties .
China responded in kind subsequently in August, introducing effective September 1 and December 15, the two dates when Trump's tariffs came into force on Beijing's goods. He also confirmed that it was in light of the new Trump administration tariffs.
Asked Thursday if Trump could come to terms with an interim agreement soaked up in an effort to secure the US economy before the 2020 election, Mnuchin said the president still had all the options. Including an increase in taxes on imports from China.
"The president is negotiating. And he is ready to hold those tariffs, he is ready to raise the tariffs if we have to raise the tariffs," Mnuchin said. "Now, with regard to agriculture, we expect and want them to buy agriculture. We see that this is a personal attack on our farmers. They need our agriculture."
"It's not just about selling them on soybeans, but we want to sell them on soybeans," he said.