Despite being reassured by both US and Chinese participating authorities multiple times, and clear evidence of an actual discussion taking place, the media is leading us to believe that the situation is making no forward progress — potentially even moving backwards.
As such, any occasion where a disagreement seems to take place between these two power nations, is taken as a sure sign by journalists that the trade war will never end.
This has been the case regarding the current conflict the US has with telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies. The US has filed charges against the telco company, which has been spun into a narrative of the US’ lack of cooperative skills.
What reporters have failed to take into account is that, as US Treasury Steve Mnuchin has said publicly, this case has nothing to do with the trade talks.
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Huawei fraud is a separate issue
According to our friends at RAW, Mnuchin gave a sound explanation as to why the Huawei scandal is not part of US–China trade discussion.
Huawei Technologies have been on the radar of many Western nations, including Australia, who is concerned with the possibility that the company’s tech could be used for spying purposes.
Huawei CEO was arrested last month in Canada, for allegedly evading sanctions in Iran. The US Justice Department are now pressing charges for bank fraud, obstruction of justice and technology theft.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at the time, ‘For years, Chinese firms have broken our export laws and undermined sanctions, often using US financial systems to facilitate their illegal activities. This will end.’
With technology issues on the trade talk agenda, the media have read this as affirmation that negotiations are going nowhere.
But, as Mnuchin told Fox Business earlier this week:
‘Forced technology issues are part of trade discussions, but any issues as it relates to violations of US law or US sanctions are going through a separate track.
‘Those are separate issues, and that’s a separate dialogue.’
Trade talk topics
Knowing a simple statement like that wouldn’t be enough to stop the follow-up questions, Mnuchin then outlined exactly what is being discussed in these trade talks:
‘The critical issues that we’ve talked about is market access, making sure there aren’t forced joint ventures, not forced transfer of technology, and that we have a mechanism that when we’ve reached an agreement we can monitor this agreement and they’ll live up to it.’
To this point, Mnuchin added:
‘I expect we’ll make significant progress this week on those issues.’
And this can be seconded, with RAW reporting that China’s Vice Premier Liu Hew will be in Washington this week. Liu Hew will lead a delegation for high-level trade and economic talks, as well as having a meeting with Trump.
As Mnuchin has explained, Huawei is not likely to be brought up during these discussions.
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