U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross contends that America needs higher workforce participation to stoke continuing robust economic growth.
“The problem is good jobs are available, but people don’t have the skills needed. We are going to try to fix that,” Ross said Tuesday at a Yahoo Finance conference.
Ross said about one out of three working-age adults don’t have a job and don’t want one.
In a wide ranging discussion, Ross also said investors shouldn't lose confidence because of the unknown
“Markets have had a tremendously big run, and that naturally makes people worried,” Ross said at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit conference.
Ross also was asked about how worried investors should be about the Trump administration’s stance on the trade war with China.
“Investors always need to worry about whatever is a source of uncertainty,” Ross said. “People shouldn’t just lose confidence simply because they’re afraid about the unknown,” he said.
Ross also is optimistic about the future of US-China business relations.
“The president and President Xi had a very constructive conversation couple of weeks ago,” Ross said. He expects Chinese negotiators to be “coming over here very shortly to start some informal talk,” he said.
“The issues with China are not just tariffs. If it were just tariffs, I think we could work it up very very quickly,” Ross said. “We don’t mind them becoming much more technically advanced, getting into the newer technologies, but they have to do so in a legitimate fashion, not through these other practices.”
Ross spoke at about the same time another White House official gave investors a reason to believe that the U.S. and China could forge a trade-war cease-fire.
National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC the United States was talking again with China on trade, calling it a “very positive” development.
“Right now we’re having communications at all levels of the U.S. and Chinese governments,” the veteran financial guru and former Ronald Reagan adviser said.
“We’re talking to them again ... so that’s a plus,” the veteran financial guru and former Ronald Reagan adviser said.
"I think that's very, very, very positive," said Kudlow, who worked as Reagan’s budget deputy between 1981 and 1985, as he confirmed reports Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has restarted trade talks with his Chinese counterpart.
The Wall Street Journal late Monday reported Mnuchin and his Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, spoke by phone about a possible future trade deal. During the call, Mnuchin pushed China to offer a formal agreement before the countries begin negotiations, the Journal reported.
Though the conversation did not lead to any breakthrough, the renewed discussions indicate the two sides are trying to reach an accommodation, the Journal reported, citing unnamed officials.
The conversation between the financial leaders comes a few weeks after President Donald Trump tweeted about a "long and very good" conversation about trade with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina," Trump said.
Bloomberg reported at the end of October the U.S. is preparing to slap tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December if those G-20 talks do not ease tensions.
Washington has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods and Beijing has responded with $110 billion in retaliatory duties.
Of those tariffs, $200 billion of goods are set to increase from 10 percent to 25 percent Jan. 1, the Journal noted.
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