USA farmers have been hurt by China's retaliatory tariffs on American soybeans amid an escalating trade fight between Washington and Beijing, and Trump has been promising relief.
In what the European Union chief called a "major concession", U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on Wednesday to refrain from imposing vehicle tariffs while the two sides launch negotiations to cut other trade barriers, easing the threat of a transatlantic trade war.
The agreement was short on details, but Mnuchin made clear the primary source of the aggravation would be addressed. "Hope they do it, we are ready - but they won't!"
On the NAFTA talks with Mexico and Canada, Mnuchin said he was "hopeful that we'll have an agreement in principal in the near future".
Brussels had hit back at the U.S. over the metals tariffs by imposing duties on more than $3 billion of United States goods, including blue jeans, bourbon and motorcycles, as well as orange juice, rice and corn.
Trump, who has threatened to impose tariffs on European autos and auto parts, said it was his tough stance that brought the European leader to the bargaining table. TTIP negotiations were stalled after Trump's 2016 election victory.
On Monday, the Commission said Juncker would not arrive in the United States for the talks with Trump with a specific trade offer.
On Wednesday, the pair agreed to "launch a new phase" in the relationship and "to work together towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods", Trump said.
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In response to the US metals tariffs, the European Union has already imposed its own import duties on 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) worth of USA goods, including products like bourbon and motorcycles that are made in some of the electoral districts that supported Trump.
Germany unsurprisingly hailed the decision, given their world dominating auto industry was the first in line to be punished by Trump's protectionist offensive.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire also quickly stipulated that "agricultural non-tariff barriers are not negotiable".
Trump is facing increasing criticism as consumers, farmers and businesses are taking a hit from the retaliation to the raft of U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminium, and tens of billions of dollars in products from China that he has imposed in recent weeks.
China and the United States announced a truce in May after two rounds of negotiations that were created to avoid a trade war.
Mnuchin said there were no new developments on the dispute with China, which has been the target of most of Trump's trade policies. "And the European Union is going to start, nearly immediately, to buy a lot of soybeans", Trump told reporters after the meeting.
But he also cautioned that the USA is watching China's currency movements for any signs Beijing is manipulating the yuan. That would finally be called Free Market and Fair Trade!