China trade sanctions ‘ready to be fired’: Wilbur Ross

The effects of current U.S.-Chinese talks to address the trade imbalance between the Chinese and U.S. are beginning to emerge, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Maria Bartiromo during an exclusive interview on “Mornings with Maria.”

But if those talks fail to resolve the problem, the U.S. is ready to squeeze a virtual trigger of trade sanctions, known as Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, firing damaging economic consequences against China.

“The [Section] 301 is a cocked pistol that’s ready to be fired whenever it needs to be fired,” he said of the law that empowers the president to impose trade sanctions on foreign countries.

“This is not a definitive agreement. This is what we hope will be a path forward,” he said. “If it doesn’t work the tariffs will go into effect. So nothing’s been lost at all.”

Ross added a “framework” has been arranged and described what it entailed.

“It had some specific thoughts on specific products, which we’ll be trying to flush out and it covered lots of other things -- the intellectual property, forced technology transfers -- a whole gambit of things,” he said.

On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News the U.S. trade war with China is “on hold” after the world’s largest economies agreed to take steps to reduce the U.S. trade deficit.

Meanwhile, President Trump, on Monday morning, in a series of tweets said China has agreed to buy “massive amounts” of farm and agricultural products from the U.S. and the trade barriers will “come down.”