NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday Washington would like to include a provision to deter currency manipulation in future trade deals, including with Japan.
United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaks during an interview with Reuters at the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. REUTERS/Johannes P. Christo
The remark drew concern in Japan, where local media ran front-page stories in a sign of attention on whether Washington could criticize as currency manipulation any future attempts by Tokyo to keep sharp yen rises in check.
Mnuchin told reporters the United States would like to incorporate, in future trade agreements, a provision it applied to the renegotiation of NAFTA that deters members from currency manipulation.
“Our objective would be that the currency issues … We’d like to include (them) in future trade agreements. With everybody. I’m not singling out Japan on that,” Mnuchin said on Saturday, when asked whether the United States will discuss currencies in trade negotiations with Japan.
“We haven’t had specific conversations on that. We obviously continually have conversations with my counterparts about currency. But that is the model we’d like to incorporate going forward,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed in September to start trade talks in an arrangement that, for now, protects Japanese automakers from further tariffs.
Along with fears of being slapped higher tariffs on auto exports, Japan worries about having its hands tied on addressing sharp yen rises that hurts its export-reliant economy.
Reporting by David Lawder and Leika Kihara; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman