U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that he was contemplating a visit to China for discussions on issues that have global leaders concerned about a potentially damaging trade war.
"I am not going to make any comment on timing, nor do I have anything confirmed, but a trip is under consideration," Mnuchin said at a Washington news conference during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings.
Mnuchin said he discussed the possible trip and potential trade opportunities with the new head of China's central bank.
Tensions have escalated between the U.S. and China over Beijing's attempts to challenge America's technological prowess, raising the prospects of a trade war that could hinder global economic growth.
Mnuchin said he had spoken with a number of his counterparts who have been forced to deal with U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" trade policies, including U.S. tariffs on foreign aluminum and steel and on up to $150 billion in Chinese goods. Some of the leaders, he said, were focused on exemptions from the tariffs.
He said he emphasized that the U.S. was not trying to construct protectionist trade barriers with the tariffs. Instead, he said, "we are looking for reciprocal treatment."
Mnuchin also said he wanted the IMF to do more to address what the Trump administration believes are unfair trade practices. He also called on the World Bank to redirect low-interest loans from China to more impoverished countries.