January 22, 2020 / 11:17 AM / a month ago

U.S. election no hard deadline for next China trade talks: Mnuchin

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reacts during a session at the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The United States has no hard deadline to conclude the next phase of trade talks with China, but tariffs would not be cut until the next round, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

“As related to phase 2, I would say there is no deadline,” Mnuchin said at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. “The first issue that we’re very focused on in the next 30 days is implementing phase 1, then we’ll start on phase 2.

“If we get that done before the election, great, if it takes longer, that’s fine,” he said.

The U.S. and China concluded a major trade deal this month after months of sometimes bitter negotiations, but Mnuchin said that the next round of talks could easily be broken into smaller parts, yielding several deals.

“We could easily have phase two A, two B, two C, it doesn’t need to be a big bang, and we’ll take tariffs off along the way, so there is a big incentive for the Chinese to continue to negotiate and conclude various additional parts of the agreement,” Mnuchin said.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Alexander Smith

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