Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin laid down important building blocks for future progress at his first G20 meeting, according to Tony Sayegh, assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Treasury.
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“We want balanced trade,” Sayegh told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo during an exclusive interview. “There are some agreements that we have to reexamine to make sure that the American worker does not get hurt by our fair trade policies from our vantage point.”
Aside from attending the financial ministerial conference, Mnuchin “made it a point” to participate in 18 bilateral meetings with his counterparts.
Sayegh said a cornerstone of Secretary Mnuchin’s agenda was to express that the U.S. doesn’t view multilateral and bilateral trade agreements as mutually exclusive, as well as share his ideas on free trade.
“What we are looking for frankly…is just an even playing field,” he said. “I do think that the ministers ultimately did reach consensus on trade language that does support free, fair and balanced trade and that was a very significant development over at the G20 and that was something that Secretary Mnuchin was able to successfully maneuver.”
Mnuchin’s meetings included a stop in London with the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond – where Prime Minister Theresa May also paid a visit – and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, Sayegh said.
He also met with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who presided over the summit.
“In Berlin, I think Secretary Mnuchin forged a very strong relationship with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble,” Sayegh added.
In his opinion, Secretary Mnuchin overall took a “humongous step forward in building personal relationships and good will over this trip.”