Worried by China’s ‘challenge to national security,’ US hopes to unite ‘like-minded’ G20 countries in opposition

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 March, 2018, 6:09am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 March, 2018, 8:20pm

Citing concerns about China’s “challenge to security and to financial stability”, the Trump administration is looking to push back along with “like-minded” countries at the Group of 20 finance leaders meeting early next week.

The meeting, in Argentina, will give the US an opportunity to unite allies against China’s state subsidies and investment policies, a senior US Treasury official said on Thursday.

The official told reporters on a background briefing call that he does not expect US President Donald Trump’s recently announced global steel and aluminum tariffs to interfere with efforts to deal with what he called China’s “move away from market liberalisation.”

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The process for US allies to seek exemptions from the national security tariffs on steel and aluminum allies is still unclear, with European Union officials expected to meet with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross next week on the process.

But the Treasury official said that the EU and other major economies have recognised the problems caused by China’s excess production capacity for steel and aluminum.

The official said the countries also see issues with Beijing’s subsidies for state-owned enterprises and its foreign investment policies that he called a “challenge to security and to financial stability.”

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“The world is recognising these problems and is seeking ways to deal with it,” the official said. “So I think we will be able to continue working with countries on each aspect of this.”

The official acknowledged that there will be some trade frictions, but said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will also be working to build G20 consensus in such areas involving growth, combating the financing of terrorism and developing and implementing new payments standards for crypto-assets.