WASHINGTON – Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Saturday called on the United States and China to resolve trade tensions through rules-based multilateral institutions.
At a press conference after concluding a meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the IMF's policy setting committee, Lagarde said that the United States and China should work on the basis of free trade and within the framework of the rules-based multilateral institutions.
"It is important that as a global community we keep trade open and ensure that we work within the multilateral system. We have to make sure that if there are disputes, those disputes are resolved," said IMFC Chairman and Governor of the South African Reserve Bank Lesetja Kganyago.
Lagarde's advice came as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that he was considering a trip to Beijing to discuss trade issues with his Chinese counterparts.
"I am not going to make any comment on the timing, nor do I have anything confirmed, but a trip is under consideration," Mnuchin told reporters.
The Trump administration has recently threatened to impose tariffs on up to 150 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese imports, while China has vowed to retaliate against U.S. exports if the Trump administration moves forward with the tariffs.
Unilateralism and trade protectionism will inevitably harm others without benefiting oneself as the global economy is deeply integrated, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Thursday.
Citing a report from the Brookings Institution, Hua said a U.S.-China trade war would result in a loss of more than 2.1 million jobs in 2,700 U.S. counties.