Trump says to 'stay tuned' as trade negotiations continue between US, China

Sergio Conner
May 16, 2018

"ZTE made false statements to the USA government when they were originally caught", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement last month.

It is no secret that the US has a huge trade deficit with China.

The ZTE controversy comes as critics are pointing to the Trump Organization's involvement in an Indonesian theme park backed by the Chinese government, arguing that Trump faces a conflict of interest in negotiating with China.

USA sanctions and export controls for national security matters are not supposed to be part of wider trade talks.

By softening his position on ZTE, Trump could be trying to secure additional concessions from the Chinese side in the second round of trade talks, Chinese economists suggested. "You should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs". An irate President Xi of China, guided by his foremost economic advisor has asked for the lifting of the seven year embargo on the phone company before proceeding further.

"China is poised to announce more market opening measures, following moves in the finance and automobile sectors", Gary Liu Shengjun, the head of the China Financial Reform Institute in Shanghai said. As Christopher Balding, an economics professor at Shenzhen's HSBC Business School, told A.F.P., "Even if this deal is completely and entirely above board, it simply furthers the perception of impropriety" concerning Trump's business dealings. He could show you his cards in unconventional ways. He doesn't have to stay harsh all the time. When President Trump tweeted Sunday that he had ordered Ross to reverse the decision, it came as a surprise to those who see the president as motivated by the coherent ideologies of hawkishness towards Iran and the trade deficit. It is important to note here that it has been announced by the United States that the impositions levied on North Korea will be removed, if they agree to totally stop their progress and development for Nuclear Arms. And in theory they won't have much of a choice because America's economy is so much bigger than Iran's. And he's constantly changing the narratives of the story. Alas, unless one factors in coming to some grand bargain with China that could assist the United States apply pressure upon North Korea.

The U.S. imposed the penalty on Shenzhen-based ZTE after finding that the company, which had already paid a $1.2 billion fine, not only failed to discipline employees that were involved, but paid them bonuses.

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But the president was also saying he will not be hemmed in by advisers, the Republican Party or Washington's foreign policy establishment. "Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!"

Branstad, who was present at the meeting, said the Chinese appeared to be "taken back" by the significance of the list. Everybody needs to slow down and wait until we actually see something.

Lawmakers from both parties have pushed back on Trump's suggestion of relief for the company. "The idea of the president intervening in a law-enforcement matter to satisfy a foreign government is extraordinary".

Alex Wong, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia, told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the president issued guidance to Commerce to review the ZTE sanctions. "Although it's not the norm and probably not advisable to change a legal decision, the USA government system does give the president has a lot of latitude on how to conduct foreign policy", he said.

Earlier this month, as NBC News reported, the Pentagon ordered stores at US military bases to stop selling ZTE and another Chinese brand of cellphones and modems, saying the devices may pose a security risk.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

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