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US will take new look at TPP after other trade priorities: Mnuchin

[SANTIAGO] The United States will consider re-entry to the Trans Pacific Partnership once Washington accomplishes its goals on other trading relationships, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said while on an official visit to Chile on Wednesday.

Trans Pacific Partnership is aimed at cutting trade barriers in some of the fastest-growing economies of the Asia-Pacific region. The original 12-member deal was thrown into limbo early last year when President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from it, citing concerns about protecting US jobs.

"Our focus at the moment, is obviously we're working on renegotiation of Nafta, we're very focused on our trading relationship with China, which is way too much in one direction. Our markets are open to them, their markets are not open to us, on the same basis," Mr Mnuchin said at a news conference.

He was in Chile following a two day meeting of officials from the world's 20 biggest economies in neighboring Argentina on Monday and Tuesday.

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"But as we accomplish our goals on these other trading relationships, this (TPP) is definitely something that we will consider and Chile will be a big partner of ours in that at the right time," Mr Mnuchin said.

Mr Trump on Monday signed an executive order barring any US-based financial transactions involving Venezuela's new petro cryptocurrency, as US officials warned that it was a "scam" by President Nicolas Maduro's government to further undermine democracy in the Opec country.

Mr Mnuchin said US sanctions against Venezuela are directed not at the population of the country but at individuals who are taking resources from the Venezuelan people.

He said it was important that other countries and the European Union join in sanctioning Venezuela. Critics accuse Mr Maduro of turning Venezuela into a dictatorship. His government says the sanctions break international law.