Davos: The US is trying to break down all barriers to trade, Trade Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday as he asserted that a trade deal with the UK is now in the works while negotiations continue with China.
Speaking at a session at the WEF 2020 here, Mnuchin said the US will maintain tariffs on China as it negotiates the next phase of a trade agreement.
"There's no question that the president's tariffs have been a big incentive with all these trade agreements," Mnuchin said.
He also noted that the US is looking forward to forging a trade agreement with the UK.
"What we're trying to do is break down barriers to trade," Mnuchin said.
The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said the UK and US "are working closely together" on a free trade deal and that is a "huge priority".
However, he noted that the UK's first priority is exiting the European Union.
On the issue of a digital tax, Mnuchin pushed back against the UK's plans to impose unilateral taxes on US technology companies.
In the same session, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said governments do have to have the revenues so they can create a level playing field for everyone and the digital sector has to be a "source" for this in society.
However, it should be done in a "multilateral context", she argued.
Javid replied: "We plan to go ahead with our digital services tax in April."
He added it is "deliberately designed as a temporary tax" that "will fall away once there is an international solution."
On the issues of climate change and sustainability, Mnuchin said, "There is a misinterpretation as to what our view is...the US administration very clearly believes in clean air and clean water."
But it should be done in a way that should also be pro-business, he added.