Wilbur Ross: US exploring other remedies for ZTE ban

Trump gets push back on talk of helping China's ZTE

When China's vice-premier Liu He set off for Washington on Tuesdayto resume talks to avert a much-dreaded trade war, the top economic aide to President Xi Jinping was facing a hard challenge.

Despite the USA ban, the Washington Free Beacon has reported that ZTE was selling equipment to the Pentagon and Homeland Security Department.

"Both sides should try to lower tariffs as much as possible. and to take down non-tariff barriers, wherever they are", he told Politico.

Trump now appears, at least for the moment, to be walking back from that tougher stance and seeking a quicker resolution of trade conflicts with the Chinese.

In a second tweet on Sunday, Mr Trump said: "China and the United States are working well together on trade, but past negotiations have been so one sided in favor of China, for so many years, that it is hard for them to make a deal that benefits both countries".

Major U.S. business groups have urged the Trump administration to drop its plan to impose tariffs on Chinese goods ahead of key public hearings beginning Tuesday, arguing that tariffs would hurt U.S. companies and consumers. There, they heard an outcry about USA regulators putting ZTE out of business.

Referring to Liu's visit, Lu said China was willing to work with the U.S.to "strive for positive and constructive outcomes from the next round of economic and trade discussions".

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Trump's unexpected announcement came as the two countries prepared to continue trade talks in Washington this week. They have been making hundreds of billions of dollars a year from the US, for many years.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, noted that Trump's tweets had highlighted layoffs in China even as autoworkers were losing their jobs in his home state.

"This enforcement action against ZTE is not a trade issue", Rubio said on Fox News Channel.

Kudlow was critical of ZTE in an interview with the Politico news outlet, saying it was a "very poorly run company" with "many internal flaws".

"Unilateral tariffs will address none of these issues, however, and will inflict real economic harm on USA businesses and consumers", the USCBC said, suggesting a comprehensive and strategic approach that sets short, medium, and long-term negotiating objectives to address industry concerns.

Early this month, a high-level US delegation - including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, top American trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer and White House adviser Peter Navarro - traveled to Beijing to address the trade dispute. In retaliation, Beijing is threatening tariffs on $50 billion in US products.

"I don't expect all core differences in the US-China trade relationship to be resolved", said UBS chief China economist Wang Tao.

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"It's a significant issue of concern to the Chinese government, you know, and in our bilateral relationship there's a give and take and we discuss these issues", said White House spokesman Raj Shah.

ZTE had warned last month that the ban on U.S. firms supplying it with components threatened its very survival.

The United States has proposed imposing tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese products to punish Beijing for forcing American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese markets.

Increasing U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas could also be an area where the two countries could agree, he said.

Time will tell, but it is still a volatile situation, and companies with big exposure in China should be anxious, as should their investors. Too many jobs in China lost.

After weeks of threatening China with punitive restrictions and stiff tariffs, President Donald Trump is now siding with his more moderate economic advisers and looking to strike a deal to avert a trade war.

"Lingering trade tension and uncertainty will likely negatively affect China's export orders and related business investment".

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