Executive Intelligence Review


Trump Extends U.S.-China Talks Past March 1 Deadline

Feb. 24, 2018 (EIRNS)—Late today President Donald Trump tweeted optimistically about the ongoing trade negotiations with China:

“I am pleased to report that the U.S. has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues. As a result of these very productive talks, I will be delaying the U.S. increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1. Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a Summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement. A very good weekend for U.S. & China!”

Two days earlier, Trump had suggested that this might happen: “I think the relationship that we have now with China, is the strongest that it’s ever been,” was Trump’s summation of the progress of the U.S.-China talks, at an open Oval Office meeting with all the negotiators for both countries on Feb. 22. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had announced that the Chinese delegation, headed by Vice Premier Liu He, was extending its stay for two days so that negotiations might continue through the Feb. 23-24 weekend.

Liu also expressed his confidence that they would reach an agreement, “We believe it is very likely that it will happen and we hope that it will happen. We will work very hard to make it happen.”

Mnuchin later that day told President Trump that Liu He had drawn up memorandums of understanding initially, but both sides had wanted documentation, which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer claimed was binding. The President, apparently rebuking Lighthizer, said “Why do you want a memo, it seems like a waste of time to me. We want a trade agreement.”

Later in the Oval Office meeting, Mnuchin told Trump that the “currency” negotiation had been completed and agreed to. Both governments appear to want the Chinese currency stable and slowly rising relative to the dollar. This can best be achieved by significant investment of China’s holdings of dollar assets, such as Treasury securities, into the American economy.