Beijing welcomes possible U.S. envoy trade visit

Adjust Comment Print

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has called on China and the USA to resolve their looming trade disputes through the use of existing multilateral provisions and organizations.

The IMF's policymaking committee said on Saturday that a strong world economy was threatened by increasing tension over trade and countries' heavy debt burden.

Lagarde urged both sides to resolve their disputes through negotiations.

In a statement at the end of three days of meetings yesterday, the IMFC heeding to the voice of countries like India, the US, Britain and France, called on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to work on a multi-pronged programme to enhance debt transparency and sustainability.

"We call upon the International Monetary Fund to develop credible policy advice for rebalancing of the global economy while drawing attention to the adverse implications of policy spillovers on other countries", Jaitley said.

"It's definitely a job that we have been working, that we will continue working with, and now I am delighted he's supporting us" Lagarde said at a Facebook Live interview with CNBC at the IMF Spring Meetings in Washington.

She praised the trade reforms recently offered by China's President Xi Jinping - including lower tariffs on USA cars, reducing investment restrictions and protections for intellectual property - which she said were "going in right direction". But an intensifying dispute between the United States and China over Beijing's aggressive attempt to challenge U.S. technological dominance has raised the prospect of a trade war that could drag down worldwide growth.

President Donald Trump last month approved steep tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese imports, while Beijing has slapped duties on key U.S. agricultural exports and has threatened to do likewise for the sensitive American soybean industry.

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

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.

"The president has been very clear on what our objectives are", Mnuchin said. He urged the International Monetary Fund to do more to combat unfair trade practices.

The IMF said upside and downside risks to the short-term outlook were broadly balanced, but beyond that they "clearly lean to the downside".

"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. EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici expressed optimism that United States officials were coming around on resolving the trade issues.

Mnuchin has said that the administration's imposition of tariffs is part of a strategy to level the playing field on trade and reduce America's huge trade deficits with China and other nations.