Deciphering Trump’s Tweet On China Trade That Seems To Go Against Everything He Stands For…
See what you make of it:
Followed shortly by:
So why would Trump go out of his way to support a company that was banned last month from receiving chips and other components from U.S. suppliers after it was found to be secretly shipping phones to North Korea and Iran? (ZTE is also the 4th largest supplier of phones to the U.S.)
And this isn’t the first time: a little over a year ago ZTE agreed to pay a fine of more than $1-billion after it was exposed doing the exact same thing. The Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the case saying at the time ZTE repeatedly lied to federal investigators, and even its own attorneys and internal investigators. At that time, it replaced its CEO and promised to be good.
Here’s F.B.I. Chief Christopher Wray discussing the potential threat ZTE poses to U.S. national security at a Senate Intelligence “Global Threats” hearing just a couple of months ago. (Click on the photo to watch):
So isn’t ZTE’s announcement that U.S. penalties are forcing it to cease “major operating activities” the kind of thing the Trump Administration should be celebrating?
Isn’t the whole point of “America First” this exact outcome: forcing people to lose their jobs in other countries and then bringing those jobs back to America?
Then why would Trump suddenly throw them a lifeline? Beyond the fact that the Trump Administration just completed a round of high-level trade talks in Beijing, and a Chinese delegation is coming to Washington tomorrow to continue those talks?
The Washington Post has the best (and about the only) explanation, saying it might be part of what a source calls a “mini deal”, in which China agrees to resume buying U.S. agriculture products like soybeans. Since the burgeoning U.S./China trade war, there’s been one highly effective move on each side so far: the U.S. going after ZTE (although this wasn’t ostensibly due to the trade surplus), and China virtually halting purchases of certain U.S. agriculture products.
Sometimes Chinese media, since it’s more tied to the state, gives better hints at what’s actually happening, but not so in this case. Xinhua reporting only that “The Chinese public and government are greatly concerned about the fate of the company”.
Another guess is that it might have something to do with upcoming talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Kim recently met with China’s President Xi in Beijing, and has plans to meet him again as soon as his summit with Trump is over.
Still, none of that explains why Trump felt the need to Tweet it, or couch it in terms of “jobs in China lost” vs. helping out U.S. farmers. Unless he was simply trying to get out ahead of the media, who would certainly have made a big deal out of it if they had found out on their own. But they are, anyway. So we still don’t quite get it.
Meanwhile, China touted the completion of a direct freight railway link with Belgium, with the first train arriving in Antwerp this weekend after a nearly 7,000 mile journey.