US, Japan trade talks will include currency, says Mnuchin

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso attend the IMF and World Bank’s 2019 Annual Spring Meetings, in Washington, April 13, 2019. — Reuters pic
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso attend the IMF and World Bank’s 2019 Annual Spring Meetings, in Washington, April 13, 2019. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, April 14 — With US-Japan trade talks set to begin tomorrow, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said yesterday any agreement will include a requirement to refrain from manipulating currencies to gain an advantage in international trade.

But he said there is no arbitrary deadline for completing the talks.

The US priority is that countries “don’t in any way manipulate their currency for purposes of competitive advantages,” Mnuchin told reporters on the sidelines of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is set to hold two days of talks with Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi tomorrow and Tuesday.

Mnuchin said the talks would focus on a “broad agenda.”

The US has long argued that China kept its currency artificially low to make its exports cheaper, and negotiators have insisted on a provision on exchange rates in the ongoing trade talks with Beijing.

And a clause was included in the revised free trade pact with Mexico and Canada, dubbed the USMCA.

“I think we’ll want to make sure whatever trade agreements there are, that there are currency provisions that reflect that in the agreement similar to USMCA and as we’ve alluded to in our China discussions,” Mnuchin said yesterday. — AFP

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