- President Donald Trump said that he was “not satisfied ” with the new trade deal between the US and China.
- The deal, primarily negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, was bashed by Democrats, Republicans, and economists.
- Trump also said a deal to ease sanctions on Chinese telecom giant ZTE was not complete.
President Donald Trump expressed misgivings about the recently announced trade agreement between the US and China during a White House meeting on Tuesday.
During a Oval Office gathering with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump said that the outcome of the recent talks with China did not leave him satisfied and left more room to rebalance the US’s trading partnership with the country.
“So no, I’m not satisfied, but we have a long way to go,” Trump said.
When the president was asked if he was happy with the negotiations over the weekend, Trump simply responded: “No.”
The deal reached Saturday by Trump’s top economic advisers and Chinese officials included few specifics outside of a US promise to pause proposed tariffs on $US150 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Liberal and conservative critics – including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, and Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon – all bashed the deal Monday. Even some of Trump’s advisers on trade policy during the 2016 campaign called the deal weak.
Trump also told reporters that no deal had been reached to ease sanctions on Chinese telecom giant ZTE.
“There is no deal, but we’ll see what will happen, but there is no deal,” Trump said.
Multiple reports Tuesday said the administration is nearing a deal to ease sanctions on ZTE in exchange for concessions from the Chinese government.
While Trump said no deal was finalised, he also suggested that in lieu of existing, harsh sanctions, ZTE could be forced to change executive leadership and face significant fines. Trump noted that allowing ZTE to shut down because of the sanctions’ impact would be a problem for US companies, from which the Chinese telecom giant buys a large percentage of its parts.
Trump’s list of possible punishments is similar to reports of the emerging deal. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also reiterated Tuesday that the Trump administration was looking into alternative ways to go after ZTE without permanently wrecking the company.
“The objective was not to put ZTE out of business,” Mnuchin said at a Senate hearing. “The objective was to make sure they abide by our sanctions programs.”
The Commerce Department instructed ZTE to make changes to its corporate structure after the company sold products containing US parts into Iran and North Korea, a violation of the sanction against those nations. After ZTE failed to comply, the Commerce Department banned the company from buying any US parts for its phones and equipment.
Due to the telecom company’s reliance on US parts,ZTE’s production ground to a halt.
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