Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sees no need for sanctions on China over war with Russia

treasury secretary Janet Yellen on Friday he said he does not think the United States should impose sanctions on China because of its ties to Russia.

“I don’t think that’s necessary or appropriate,” the Treasury secretary told “Squawk Box” about possible sanctions on Beijing. “Senior administration officials are talking privately and quietly with China to make sure they understand our position.”

“We would be very concerned if they supplied Russia with arms or tried to evade the sanctions we have imposed on the Russian financial system and central bank,” he said. “We don’t see that happening right now.”

The Treasury Secretary’s comments come as NATO leaders step up efforts to warn China not to allow Russia’s assault on Ukraine.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks with employees after touring The Denver Mint, one of two locations that manufactures coins for the new American Women Quarters Program, which includes the Maya Angelou quarter , in Denver, Colorado, on March 11, 2022.

Jason Connolly | Pool | Reuters

The United States and its allies have warned Beijing for weeks that it would face dire consequences if it helped Moscow by supplying weapons, offering alternative trade routes or creating disinformation campaigns.

China has not fully denounced Russia’s unprovoked attack on its neighbor and, like Russian President Vladimir Putin, has complained about NATO expansion. US officials have also said Russia has asked China for military and economic assistance, a charge both countries deny.

President Joe Biden last week he threatened the Chinese leader Xi Jinping with unspecified consequences if Beijing supports Moscow as it works to capture the Ukrainian capital of kyiv.

While it is unclear how the White House would penalize Beijing, it would likely ask the Treasury Department to expand its economic sanctions.

In the interview, Yellen also touched on how both the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic have emphasized the importance of securing US supply chains.

“Perhaps corporate America has focused on efficiency and organizing supply chains in ways that reduce costs but hurt resilience,” he said. “And resiliency in supply chains is a high priority of the administration.”

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The European war and global supply concerns have wreaked havoc on several key commodity markets, including those for crude oil and wheat. West Texas Crude Oil Futures Price jumped above $130 a barrel before in March after trading below $90 in January.

The rise in oil prices caused a corresponding jump in US gasoline prices, which rose to their highest level earlier in the month at a national average of $4.33 per gallon.

Wheat remains above $10 a bushel, about 25% higher than where it was trading two months ago.

But despite all the recent chaos, Yellen said she disagrees with claims that the globalization of trade is coming to an end.

“I really have to push that back,” he said. “We are deeply involved in the global economy. I hope that continues, it is something that has brought benefits to the United States and many countries in the world.”

When asked about the role cryptocurrencies are playing in the Russo-Ukrainian war, Yellen said that she sees the asset class through its duty to safeguard American consumers and investors. She said that she is targeting those who would view crypto as a wise investment decision.

“I’m a little skeptical because I think there are valid concerns about it,” Yellen said. “Some have to do with financial stability, consumer-investor protection, use for illicit transactions and other things.”

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