Beijing says welcomes Mnuchin visit for crunch trade talks

Christine Lagarde head of the International Monetary Fund, attends a conference at the Cannes Lions Festival in Cannes France

Mnuchin said he met with Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China, at the International Monetary Fund gathering this week.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer, the USA trade representative, will be among those on the trip, Trump said Tuesday.

The Commerce Ministry in Beijing said last weekend that China would welcome a visit from the U.S.to discuss trade issues.

Trump has called for "reciprocal" trade policies that would effectively put a tariff of equal size against any country that imposes tariffs on US exports.

"We are going to continue the sanctions" and a "maximum pressure" campaign until North Korea abandons its nuclear-weapons program in a verifiable way, he said.

And in a sign of progress, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed earlier this month to open China's market wider to foreign companies, raising hopes the dispute with Washington could be resolved.

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"It's likely that they come and demand a price that's too high for China".

Christopher Balding, associate professor at the HSBC Business School in Shenzhen, said: "I wouldn't read too much into it". "I'm not optimistic, as it seems that Trump himself doesn't know what he wants to get from China". Mnuchin met recently with finance officials from Japan, China, and Europe to discuss a series of punitive tariffs the Trump Administration unveiled recently against China and other trading partners.

Secretary Mnuchin said he encourages, welcomes, and appreciates China's commitment to domestic reform.

Mnuchin said China has been "very helpful" in supporting USA sanctions against North Korea, and he welcomed Kim's suspension of nuclear testing that was announced less than a day earlier.

"I want to stress that China-U.S. economic ties are mutually beneficial in nature and have always been delivering tangible benefits to the business communities and consumers of the two countries", Lu said. He said the ongoing multilateral consultations could eventually produce certain positive developments - without elaborating further.

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