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Mnuchin says he's headed to China next week for trade talks, but there are still 'a lot of issues'

Key Points
  • Mnuchin tells CNBC he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are heading to Shanghai for a two-day meeting starting Tuesday.
  • "I would say there are a lot of issues," Mnuchin says. "My expectations is this will be followed up with a meeting back in D.C. after this and hopefully we'll continue to progress."
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Secretary Mnuchin: There are still many issues to resolve with China

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed optimism Wednesday about next week's trade talks with China as the administration pushes looks to resolve a critical geopolitical issue.

In an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Mnuchin said he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are leading a team that will head to Shanghai on Monday for a two-day meeting starting Tuesday.

"I would say there are a lot of issues," Mnuchin said. "My expectations is this will be followed up with a meeting back in D.C. after this and hopefully we'll continue to progress."

The negotiations come with high expectations on Wall Street and elsewhere.

U.S. companies are feeling the pressure of tariffs that have come in a tit-for-tat battle between the two countries. The White House has instituted duties on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods and has threatened to hit the remaining $300 billion or so of remaining imports if an agreement is not reached. China has issued retaliatory tariffs.

Mnuchin noted the symbolism of the two sides meeting in Shanghai — the Shanghai Communique of 1972 was considered an important step in normalizing relations between the U.S. and China.

"Hopefully, I'll take that as good news that we'll be making progress next week," he said.

Mnuchin's office later released an official statement on the planned visit:

"At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin will travel to Shanghai, China, to continue negotiations aimed at improving the trade relationship between the United States and China. The talks will begin on July 30. Vice Premier Liu He will lead the talks for China.

"The discussions will cover a range of issues, including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, the trade deficit, and enforcement."