U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday that “the U.S. and China were close to a trade deal, and he’s optimistic that progress can be made during weekend talks between President Donald Trump and China’s Xí Jìnpíng 习近平.” He added, “We were about 90% of the way there [with a deal] and I think there’s a path to complete this.”
Perhaps Mnuchin should be speaking to a few more Chinese officials or at least reading translations from state media. This is the response to Mnuchin’s remarks from Hú Xījìn 胡锡进, the mouth-frothing editor of nationalist rag Global Times, on Twitter:
No Chinese official now speaks with such optimism. With dozens of hours left before Xi-Trump summit, Chinese state media has been keeping criticizing the US harshly, a situation that never happened in the previous China-US summits. https://t.co/XD7OUu2s7z
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) June 26, 2019
Like the Trump administration, Hu’s newspaper is not a reliable source of accurate information. But Hu has an excellent read on the mood of senior Party members, and I would believe his comments on this subject over spin from Mnuchin any day.
Other news from various fronts of the U.S.-China trade and tech war:
A weeklong hearing on Trump-proposed new tariffs on around US$300 billion of Chinese goods ended yesterday after “testimony by hundreds of companies and industry associations seeking shelter from the costs of the countries’ escalating trade war,” reports the South China Morning Post.
“Data from Vietnam show surges in both imports from China and exports to the U.S., highlighting how transshipment circumvents levies,” says a Wall Street Journal article titled American tariffs on China are being blunted by trade cheats.
Huawei’s U.S.-based research subsidiary — Futurewei Technologies — “has moved to separate its operations from its corporate parent since the US government put Huawei on a trade blacklist last month,” reports Reuters. Based in Santa Clara, California, the company has “banned Huawei staff from its offices, moved its own employees to a new IT system and forbidden them from using the Huawei name or logo in communications.”
“About a dozen rural U.S. telecoms carriers that depend on Huawei for network gear are in discussions with its biggest rivals, Ericsson and Nokia, to replace their Chinese equipment,” according to Reuters.
American chip makers “have found ways to avoid labeling goods as American-made,” and are “still selling millions of dollars of products to Huawei” despite the Trump administration ban, says the New York Times. Intel and Micron are the companies named in the article.
Top image: Jacquelyn Martin/AP