Trump picks treasury, commerce secretaries

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he has picked his campaign finance chairman Steve Mnuchin as treasury secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary.

"Steve Mnuchin is a world-class financier, banker and businessman, and has played a key role in developing our plan to build a dynamic, booming economy that will create millions of jobs," Trump said in a statement, adding Mnuchin's expertise and pro-growth ideas make him the ideal candidate to serve as treasury secretary.

Mnuchin, 53, a former Goldman Sachs banker, said Wednesday that the Trump administration will focus on tax reform to revive U.S. economic growth.

"Our most important priority is sustained economic growth, and I think we can absolutely get to sustained 3 to 4 percent GDP(gross domestic product), and that is absolutely critical for the country," Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC.

"To get there, our number one priority is tax reform. This will be the largest tax change since (President Ronald) Reagan," he said, promising that the Trump administration will bring a lot of jobs and money back into the U.S. by cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent.

Ross, 79, known for restructuring failed companies in distress sectors like steel and coal, said in the same interview that the Trump administration aims to increase American exports by fixing "dum trade" deals and getting rid of trade barriers.

"There's trade, there's sensible trade and there's dumb trade. We've been doing a lot of dumb trade, and that's the part that's going to get fixed," he said.

Both Mnuchin and Ross said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a bad deal and that the new administration is in favor of bilateral trade agreements rather than regional trade pacts.

Trump has vowed to withdraw the Pacific trade deal, an ambitious trade agreement among the U.S. and other 11 countries in Asia Pacific, within his first 100 days in office.

In terms of Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Chinese imports, Ross clarified that tariffs are part of the negotiation and not the first choice.

"Everybody talks about tariffs as the first thing. Tariffs are the last thing. Tariffs are part of the negotiation. The real trick is going to be increasing American exports," he said.

Zhang Xiangchen, China's deputy international trade representative with the Ministry of Commerce, said last week that Trump would be reminded that the United Statesshould honor its obligations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) after he moves into the White House.

China, as a member of the WTO, has also the right to defend its rights and interests in accordance with the WTO rules, he said.

Zhang was confident that China has good dialogue mechanisms with the U.S. administration on economic and trade policies to ensure that their relations will move forward "on a healthy track."

[ Editor: 刘家铭 ]
 

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