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Mnuchin: It’s Not Protectionist To ‘Negotiate Deals That Are Good For Us’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin promised Friday morning that the Trump administration is not pursuing a protectionist trade policy, as long as the U.S. can renegotiate the terms of its major trade agreements.

Speaking with Axios’ Mike Allen at “News Shapers With Secretary Mnuchin,” the Treasury secretary said the president’s trade policy is shaped to promote both “free” and “fair and balanced” trade deals. “This is a president who has a clear agenda. The number one issue is the economy. He wants to create economic growth. Trade is one part of the agenda,” Mnuchin said.

The president’s focus is on renegotiating agreements, like “NAFTA” and “trade enforcement” rules, to promote an environment where American consumers and businesses can thrive. Mnuchin thinks the president has proven his prowess for negotiation in his first few months. “Whether it’s fighter jets,” or trade agreements, the secretary thinks the president will “bring back proper economic growth.”

The secretary thinks that, following the recent G20 summit, the majority of the press coverage surrounding U.S. trade policy is focused on the belief that “we took out the language that we won’t be protectionist.” Mnuchin seemed to hone in on the president’s terminology at the summit, claiming that the U.S. has been treated “very, very unfairly,” in trade agreements. The treasury secretary reportedly rejected German officials requests to add more free trade language in the G20’s joint summit.

Mnuchin thinks the G20 coverage largely missed the point. “The issue was that, as long as we can negotiate deals that are good for us, we won’t be protectionist,” the secretary said.

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