In an interview with CNBC, Mnuchin said tariffs would go in place if a deal with China falls apart, when asked about a round of tariffs scheduled for Dec.
But in a press conference outside the White House after the interview, Mnuchin said "there is an agreement in principle" for a Phase 1 deal and that it was "substantially done." U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that China and the United States had reached the first phase of a trade deal that covered agriculture, currency and some aspects of intellectual property protections, and would ease the reciprocal trade restrictions that the world's two largest economies have been imposing for 15 months.
But officials on both sides have said more work is needed to finalize the accord, and Trump acknowledged the agreement could still collapse.
Mnuchin said more trade negotiations at various levels would take place over the coming weeks, including a phone call between himself, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, and talks between Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.