The IMF welcomes reports that the US and China may be closing in on a trade deal, spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters Thursday (November 17) in Washington.
“We have to wait until there is the actual agreement between the US and China before we make an assessment,” Rice said regarding announcements by both sides that a ‘phase one’ deal could be agreed upon as early as December by the two countries leaders.
“But look, as we've said here many times before, we welcome any step to de-escalate the trade tensions and to roll back recent trade measures which you just mentioned, and particularly if they can provide a path towards a comprehensive and lasting agreement,” he added.
The Fund estimated that the cost of the announced trade measures would have cut 0.8% off of global GDP growth by 2020 in its World Economic Outlook, released last month at the IMF / World Bank Annual Meetings.
“Given the uncertainty about the content and durability of a possible, possible agreement for now. Again, without making a firm assessment, we see it as holding potential to improve our baseline forecast,” Rice told reporters.
He was also questioned about where the IMF stands with Argentina following the election of its new president Alberto Fernandez, who has been critical of the IMF loan program to that country.
“The managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, congratulated President elect Fernandez on his election and reiterated the Fund's readiness to engage with Mr. Fernandez and his administration to help Argentina address the important challenges facing the economy there and to pave the way for inclusive and sustainable growth,” Rice said.
There was no timetable currently agreed upon for formal talks, he announced.
“The second thing is that we stand ready to engage with President-elect Fernandez and his team at their convenience during the transition period.”
And the IMF says it remains engaged with Lebanon but that Lebanese authorities have not asked for a support program in the wake of anti-government protests in recent weeks.
“We've continued to have some technical discussion with our counterparts in Lebanon, mainly to get a better understanding of the of the situation again, given the developments there. We have not yet had a discussion on policies and just the authorities have not asked, and we are not engaged in any discussion of a program,” Rice said.