Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

China sends trade envoy to United States, welcomes Trump ZTE comments

China sends trade envoy to United States, welcomes Trump ZTE comments

President Donald Trump has insisted that the countries reduce the $370 billion trade deficit with China by $200 billion.

President Donald Trump on Monday defended his efforts to help a Chinese telecommunications company that violated USA sanctions "get back into business, fast", despite criticism from Democrats and Republicans that the company poses a national security risk. Weighing on markets was the trade struggle between the United States and China which still shows little sign of a quick resolution.

"Our position has been that's an enforcement action, separate from trade", Ross said, referring to ZTE.

One area the world's two most powerful economies likely won't be able to address during discussions this week is China's practice of what is known as technology mercantilism, in which it distorts policies and systems in order to expand domestic technology production.

Ross said he wouldn't be surprised if the issue came up during high-level talks this week with Chinese counterparts.

The U.S. banned exports to ZTE in April for its violation of a U.S. Iranian trade embargo.

He noted that the ZTE case showed China remained dependent on US technology. The administration is in contact with China on this issue, among others in the bilateral relationship.

Shah also pushed back on the idea that Mr. Trump was retreating from his campaign promise to be tough on China.

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An even higher-stakes fight looms over American allegations that China steals technology and forces US companies to hand over trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market. It's not clear, of course, if he's planning to really reverse it or think of a solution in a larger context.

The widening trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies has taken a toll on both sides. US companies that export to China have had goods held up in China's ports.

But a few hours later, Trump suggested on Twitter that ZTE is indeed about trade.

Additionally, The Wall Street Journal (paywall)'s sources point to another possible result of USA leniency towards ZTE. "Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!" But it then went a step further to impose a seven-year ban on U.S. companies buying and selling ZTE products. The agricultural products are said to be worth billions of dollars to the US.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad said that Washington and Beijing are still "very far apart" on trade issues, erasing the rumblings of optimism sparked on Monday.

But China on Monday welcomed Trump's recent comments.

Foreign Ministry. "We are now in close communication over details of the implementation".

The US initially fined ZTE $1.19 million in March 2017 for violating sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

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