Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: 'Good signs' for U.S.-Chinese relations

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday said U.S.-China relations have improved as President Trump prepares for his first trip to the Asia-Pacific region next week.

“There are already very good signs that [Chinese President Xi Jinping] is being more helpful with North Korea. They did vote for the last two sanctions. As far as we can tell, they are enforcing them much more stringently than they were before,” Ross told FOX Business’ Lou Dobbs.

In January of this year, Trump formally withdrew the U.S. from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, fulfilling a campaign promise to end America’s involvement in the Obama-era trade pact.

The administration’s top official on all things trade and business said the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of TPP does not indicate that the U.S. is loosening its ties in the Asia-Pacific region.

“A lot of people in Asia had the mistaken impression that when we pulled out of TPP we were pulling out of the region,” Ross said. “Nothing can be further from the truth, and if this trip doesn’t say that eloquently I don’t know what could.”

The Commerce Secretary also weighed in on the $4 trillion budget that was narrowly approved on Thursday by the House of Representatives, saying it paves the way for Republicans on Capitol Hill to move tax reform forward.

“I think [tax reform] is in prospect. I think the vote today told you that. They didn’t put any amendments at all. They took it exactly as it came from the Senate even though they had been talking about quite a few amendments,” Ross said.