NYT: Mnuchin renews China tariff threat amid impasse in trade talks

Treasury Secretary places blame on Chinese

By Eli Watkins, CNN
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Steven Mnuchin

(CNN) - US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin renewed the Trump administration's threat of tariffs against China amid an impasse in trade talks with the nation, blaming Chinese officials for the breakdown in negotiations, The New York Times said Saturday.

"If they want to come back to the table and complete the deal on the terms that we were continuing to negotiate, that would be great," Mnuchin said, according to the Times. "If not, as the President said, we'll move on with tariffs."

Mnuchin, in his remarks reported by the newspaper, said he blamed Chinese officials for the collapse of trade talks with the US last month. Trade negotiations have been indefinitely suspended since President Donald Trump escalated tariffs on all Chinese imports over Beijing's failure to keep previously held commitments as part of a trade deal. China has responded with its own set of penalties on US goods, which went into effect last week.

"There's no question where we are now, that this is a result of them backtracking on significant commitments," Mnuchin said.

The impasse between the two massive economic powers has stretched into June, as Trump persists in waging global trade wars on multiple fronts.

The President had threatened waves of tariffs against Mexico over border security and immigration, but on Friday, he dropped his threat and claimed the US had reached an agreement with its neighbor and major trading partner.

Trump is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit this month, and according to the Times, Mnuchin is expected to meet with Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China, on Sunday. Mnuchin said they would have a two-part meeting, with one part on trade.

CNN's Donna Borak contributed to this report.

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