USA hopes for trade deal as pressure increases on China

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. AFP

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. AFP

India should focus on increasing formal woman labour participation as the country continues improvements in product and market reforms, a top International Monetary Fund official has said.

A visit by the US Treasury secretary to China likely signals a breakthrough in the dust-up between the world's 2-biggest economies, whose threats to slap tariffs on each other have rattled markets and raised fears of a trade war.

In a session with reporters, Mnuchin refused to say how close the United States was to resolving the various trade disputes but did indicate progress was being made in the talks.

Mnuchin said he met with China's new central bank governor, Yi Gang, during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings and discussed the potential for China to open its markets to more foreign competition. "We will work together to reduce excessive global imbalances in a way that supports global growth by pursuing appropriate and sustainable policies", the communique said. "They were trying to pacify the markets and prevent US stock prices from falling further", said Mei Xinyu, a senior research fellow of the Commerce Ministry's Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Trade relations between China and the U.S. have deteriorated in recent weeks.

Trump has proposed imposing tariffs on as much as $150 billion on Chinese imports, while China has vowed to retaliate on everything from American soybeans to planes.

China retaliated with tariffs of its own on USA imports, particularly from the agriculture and metal industries.

Regarding trade with Japan, Mnuchin said the USA administration wanted a bilateral trade agreement.

But some poor countries have increasing debts, too, which Lesetja Kganyago, South African Reserve Bank governor and chairman of of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, underlined on Saturday.

This as US President Donald Trump has repeatedly pointed out that China and several other nations tend to resort to currency devaluations in order to support and boost their competitiveness in worldwide markets.

Among 18 bilateral meetings with his counterparts this week, Mnuchin said he had met with Yi Gang, governor the People's Bank of China.

Mnuchin said on Friday that the International Monetary Fund needed to "step up to the plate" to police large external imbalances, demand the dismantling of trade barriers and protection of intellectual property rights. Trump had a "very successful" meeting this week in Florida with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mnuchin said. 'The Chinese side has received information that the US side hopes to come to Beijing to discuss economic and trade issues.

"The larger threat is posed by increasing trade tensions and the possibility that we enter a sequence of unilateral, tit-for-tat measures, all of which generate uncertainties for global trade and GDP growth", Roberto Azevdo, director-general of the World Trade Organisation, told the IMF's policy committee.

"I hope it is a negotiating strategy".

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