Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Helping Sanctioned Chinese Company Is A 'Favor' To President Xi

Trump: ZTE exemption is a 'favor' to Chinese leader US reportedly working with China on a deal to 'save' ZTE from going out of business
Ellis Copeland | 25 May, 2018, 21:25

Washington neared a deal to lift its ban on usa firms supplying Chinese telecoms gear maker ZTE Corp, sources said on Tuesday [May, 22], and Beijing announced tariff cuts on auto imports, further easing trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.

A chorus of criticism from conservative media followed Trump's initial tweet last week suggesting he was looking to lift the ban on ZTE, and the report of an imminent deal on Tuesday prompted renewed criticism from traditional Trump allies. "President Xi [Jinping] has played President Trump and Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin".

The Ministry of Finance in China will decrease vehicle import tariff rates by 10 percent on July 1, 2018 in order to make the world's largest new auto market more attractive to foreign carmakers and boost automotive development.

In March of previous year, the company pleaded guilty to illegally shipping usa technology to Iran and North Korea and paid a penalty of $892 million.

China and the United States have agreed on the "broad outline" of a settlement to the seven-year ban on ZTE buying American technology, ending a punishment that threatened to put the company out of business, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The reprieve for ZTE, hit by a seven-year ban in April that had crippled its operations, could include China removing tariffs on imported us agricultural products, as well as buying more American farm goods, two people briefed on the matter told Reuters. The exact composition of the cuts hasn't yet been finalized and is still subject to approval by the State Council, China's cabinet. "I'm not satisfied but we have a long way to go".

"It's also a decision taken lightly and is unhelpful to mutual understanding between China and the US", China's Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi said.

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers that the treatment of ZTE was not "a quid pro quo or anything else" related to trade, and said it would not undermine national security. China's negotiators appeared to cave on this point by offering to buy more from the US, most likely energy and agricultural products, though the outlines of a compromise are in flux. That resulted in ZTE later shutting down major operations with the company's future largely unclear.

In a 32-2 vote, the Senate Banking Committee advanced legislation Tuesday that limited the president's ability to ease sanctions on Chinese telecom companies, requiring the administration first prove to Congress that the company is complying with USA law. The US would drop the ban in exchange for the purchase of more US farm products, the report notes.

Senator Marco Rubio has been pretty vocal on Twitter about assembling a veto-proof majority to block a deal with ZTE, focusing heavily on the allegations that ZTE was involved in Chinese spying and IP theft. He repeated prior statements that a consensus had been reached and the US would send a delegation to China to work out the details.

Trump's comments reflected the US's comparably low import tariff for new cars at just 2.5 percent and he had placed pressure on China to lower its tariffs to even the playing field. A US delegation is set to return to China to work out details of reducing the USA trade deficit with the nation.

Mr Trump on Monday said the potential agreement could be "one of the best things" to happen to farmers, an important part of his base that has been anxious about Chinese retaliation.

Some White House officials blamed poor co-ordination among the opposing factions on Trump's team for his initial agreement with China, according to several people briefed on the matter.

Meanwhile, Phil Davis of PSW Investments told AFP that, while markets may have felt relief on Monday because the tone had shifted away from confrontation between Washington and Beijing, the ballyhooed trade talks had in fact produced little of substance.

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