President Donald Trump said today that at the request of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the US was looking at sanctions against the Chinese telecom giant ZTE.
He was responding to questions on the criticism by his political opponents on his decision asking the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to review the sanctions against ZTE.
“As far as ZTE is concerned, the president (Xi) asked me to look into it and I am doing that. And don’t forget, for the ones that say ‘Oh maybe Trump is getting a little bit easy’, ZTE, we closed it. It wasn’t another administration. It was this administration that closed it,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“It’s a phone company. A very large phone company. But it’s also a phone company that buys a large portion of its parts that make up these phones that are sold all over the world, from American companies,” Trump argued.
“So when you do that, you’re really hurting American companies also. I’m looking at it. But we were the ones that closed it. It wasn’t done by previous administrations, it was done by us. So we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Trump said that as a favour to the Chinese president, he is taking a look at it. “A lot of the stories on trade were incorrectly written. I don’t like to talk about deals until they’re done. So we’ll see what happens,” he said.
The deal that finally emerges may be a much better deal for the US, Trump said.
“There is no deal. We will see what happens. We are discussing deals. We’re discussing various deals,” he said.
“We can do a 301, where we don’t need China, where we can just say, ‘Look, this is what we want. this is what we think is fair’. That’s always a possibility, if a negotiated deal doesn’t work out,” he warned.
“We lost USD 500 billion a year for many years. Then it varied from USD 100 billion to USD 500 billion. When you’re losing USD 500 billion a year, you can’t lose in terms of a negotiation. It’s really easy to win,” he said.
Trump said he wanted this the deal to be a great deal for both the US as well as China. “I want it to be a very good deal for China too, if that’s possible. It may not be possible,” he said.
Averting a trade war, China and the US struck a deal on Monday under which Beijing will “significantly increase” its purchases of American goods and services to reduce the whopping USD 375 billion trade deficit with Washington.