Senior economics reporter
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives in the Rayburn House Office Building to testify before a House Financial Services hearing.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday the economy had not been harmed by the administration’s trade disputes with the European Union, China, Canada and Mexico.
“We have not yet seen any negative impact,” Mnuchin said, during testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.
In rare agreement when discussing the Trump administration, both Republicans and Democrats on the House panel expressed concern the various trade disputes could end up damaging the U.S. economic expansion rather than accomplishing the administration’s stated goal of lowering trade barriers.
Related: Here’s when Americans will start feeling the pain from escalating Trump-imposed tariffs
Mnuchin said he shared the concerns of any job loss from tariffs and said he was monitoring “very carefully” the impact of uncertainty on investments.
The Treasury Secretary said he thought that Harley-Davidson HOG, -0.05% had already planned to move some of its motorcycle production abroad before the European Union imposed tariffs on imported bikes. The company tied the production move to the tariffs.
Related: Harley-Davidson isn’t riding off to Europe simply because of the Trump tariffs
Mnuchin said he would explore with the Commerce Department whether Mid-Continent Nail, the country’s largest nail manufacturer, could get “some type of exemption.” The company had been importing steel from Mexico.
The company laid off 60 workers last month and said it could be out of business by Labor Day.
Stocks DJIA, +0.80% have fluctuated sharply in recent weeks as the market followed the trade disputes closely.
In another topic, Mnuchin also said he did not think the narrowing of the spread between 2-year Treasury yields TMUBMUSD02Y, +0.16% and 10-year Treasury yields TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.06% was a sign the bond market was worried about an economic downturn. The yield gap, or yield curve, between these two rates are at the narrowest since August 2007.
“I don’t think that [the flattening yield curve] is indicative in any way of recessionary concerns,” Mnuchin said.
Related: Ed Yardeni says that flawless predictor of recession and a bear market is wrong this time