US unafraid of trade war: Treasury chief Mnuchin

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Buenos Aires (AFP)

The United States is not seeking a trade war over tariffs but does not fear one, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday at the end of a meeting of G20 finance ministers in Argentina.

A trade war "is not our goal, but we are not afraid of it," Mnuchin said at the end of the two-day meeting in Buenos Aires, which was overshadowed by looming US tariffs on steel and aluminum.

"We have to be prepared to act in the US interest to defend free and fair reciprocal trade. In doing that there is always a risk.

"That's not our goal. But we are not afraid of it," he said.

Mnuchin was speaking after ministers agreed not to condemn the US move in the meeting's final communique, but instead spoke of "heightened economic and geopolitical tensions."

Mnuchin also said the US would consider additional sanctions against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government in Venezuela.

"I can assure you that we will continue to evaluate the situation there and consider additional sanctions," he said.