President Trump on Tuesday said he was not happy about the progress of trade talks with China — but also suggested that the US would likely cut a deal to keep Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE in business.
Sanctions imposed by the US on ZTE could have forced the company to go belly up, costing 75,000 Chinese jobs, but Team Trump revisited the penalty after Chinese President Xi Jinping appealed to the administration to reconsider.
“China has made a fortune” from the US, he said while meeting with the president of South Korea at the White House. “I’m not satisfied, but we have a long way to go.”
Trump — who during the campaign railed at China and other countries for stealing American jobs — defended the relaxation of sanctions against ZTE.
“Well, again, ZTE buys a tremendous amount of equipment and parts for their telephones” from the US, he said.
“As you know, they are the fourth-largest in the world. And they buy them from American companies. So immediately when I looked at it, it was my administration that closed them down. We caught them, not anybody else, we caught them doing bad things and we essentially made it so difficult that it was shut down,” he said.
But that shutdown would cost American jobs as well, he continued.
ZTE was linked to sales to Iran and North Korea in violation of previous sanctions.
“By shutting them down, we’re hurting a lot of American companies, really good American companies. And I will tell you, don’t think that we didn’t hear from them by shutting down this massive phone company,” he said.
The president said the US would seek to impose a massive fine, though it was unclear if he was referring to the company or the Chinese government.
“So what I envision is a very large fine of more than a billion, do a billion three. I envision new management, a new board, and very, very strict security rules. And I also envision that they will have to buy a big percentage of their parts and equipment from American companies,” he said.
And Trump again blamed the US trade imbalance with China on his predecessors.
“Look, China has been, I really call it a dereliction of duties. If you look at it, in the military they would say dereliction of duty. What happened to our country [is] that our representatives allowed other countries, and I’m not talking [only] about China. China is the big one, to take advantage of us on trade the way we’ve been taken advantage of,” the president said.
Source: Read Full Article