The U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC Friday that Chinese currency controls will need to form part of discussions about future trade arrangements between the two countries.
China’s renminbi, also known as the yuan, is down 6.5 percent this year versus the U.S. dollar. The U.S. has long suspected Beijing is manipulating its currency in order to gain a trade advantage.
Speaking to CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Bali, Mnuchin said the level of China’s currency was an important factor in trade talks.
“We are going to make sure that currency is definitely part of these discussions. We are going to make sure that whatever we make up on trade we don’t lose on currencies,” he said.
Mnuchin also dismissed the suggestion that China’s recent monthly surplus figure showed that the trade dispute between the two countries was having little effect.
“My guess is that you have seen a lot of purchases in advance of the tariffs. We saw the same thing with steel and aluminum so I think it is just a monthly blip,” he said.
On whether the United States will formally cite China as a currency manipulator in a Treasury report due out next week, Mnuchin remained coy, ducking any suggestion that failing to do so might look weak.
“What we go through on the report is a technical analysis. I’m not going to say what the result is but it is very thorough analytics,” he said.