US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has pushed back against warnings that the trade war between Washington and Beijing will jeopardize the global economy, saying that pushing China to open up will be good for all.

Mnuchin told reporters in Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday that US President Donald Trump’s drive to punish China with tariffs to encourage it to adopt fairer trade practices would not imperil the world economy.

“Our objective with China is very clear: it’s to have a more balanced trading relationship,” Mnuchin said.

“I think that if we are successful, this is very good for US companies, US workers, Europeans, Japan, all of our other allies, and good for China.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned this week at annual meetings in Bali that the escalating US-China trade confrontation would hobble global economic growth, as the fund lowered its forecasts for this year and next.

On Tuesday, the IMF cut its outlook for global GDP growth by 0.2 percentage points to 3.7 percent for 2018 and 2019, saying that “everyone is going to suffer” from a clash between the world’s two biggest economies.

Mnuchin said, however that the IMF’s warnings were “all the more reason for China to be incented to address these issues with us.”

“Our objective is to increase exports and have a more balanced, fair relationship where our companies can do business there on terms that are similar to how they can do business (in the US),” Mnuchin said.

Tensions have soared in recent months with the administration of President Donald Trump rolling out billions of dollars in tariffs against China in a bid to tackle its trade deficit and rein in what Washington views as unacceptable trade practices by the world’s second largest economy.

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department announced new rules targeting China that tighten national security reviews of foreign investment.

Analyst believe it is unlikely that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will reach a trade agreement during the G-20 summit next month in Argentina.

“I don’t think any decision has been made in regards to a meeting,” Mnuchin said. “To the extent that we can make progress toward a meeting, I would encourage that and that’s something we are having discussions about.”



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