Is the Trump administration losing the China trade war?

Trump: ZTE exemption is a 'favor' to Chinese leader

Mnuchin says no quid pro quo in ZTE rescue talks

The trade hawks, led by White House Trade Council head Peter Navarro and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

China has frequently argued that the trade imbalance can be fixed by the USA lifting strict export curbs on high-technology goods. Then it turned out that the sanctions were going to force ZTE out of business, which, while pretty unfortunate, seemed pretty in line with the US's current protectionist platform. Trump's economic team hinted at a way forward on the company in television interviews, although the message was muddled. That's an intangible victory for China too, in that it shows the United States will treat national security policy as a subject of trade negotiation.

The divisions are now publicly surfacing as outright contradictions in official statements and well-informed leaks, sometimes made nearly contemporaneously.

ZTE was fined US$1.2 billion in March 2017, but last month Washington banned the sale of crucial U.S. components to the company after finding it had lied multiple times and failed to take actions against employees responsible for sanctions violations on Iran and North Korea. So much of the Trump ego rests on his perception of himself as a master negotiator.

Mr Trump said last week he had directed Mr Ross to put ZTE back in business, but Mr Kudlow said any changes would be minimal.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, said the Trump administration was being conned.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday floated a plan to fine ZTE and shake up its management as his administration considers rolling back more severe penalties that have crippled the Chinese telecoms firm, Reuters reports.

Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, said on Sunday that management changes at ZTE would be among remedies needed before the U.S. would consider a reprieve. "But this is too important to be over".

Stocks in the green include The TJX Companies, the off-price department store reported strong first-quarter results, the CEO said in a statement that "customer traffic was the primary driver of store sales increases", Micron Technology as the company is planning a $10 billion share buyback, and NXP Semiconductors - shares rising on hopes its deal with Qualcomm will be approved by China as trade tensions appear to ease. He repeated prior statements that a consensus had been reached and the USA would send a delegation to China to work out the details.

"What I envision is a very large fine of more than $1 billion".

President Trump and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands after making joint statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.

While Schumer is a Democrat, he has consistently complimented Trump's confrontation of China.

"We know ZTE is a repeated and flagrant violator of USA laws - there's absolutely no question of their culpability".

'So no, I'm not satisfied, but we'll see what happens.

Mr Trump, citing a large trade deficit and unfair rules in China, says the USA is starting from such a bad position that the country stands to gain no matter what happens. China responded aggressively with tariffs of its own and now POTUS is in a bind, not wanting to cave and look weak but also knowing that digging in really could risk a full-blown trade war and ruin the chances of dialogue with North Korea. Trump suggested himself that Xi was pulling strings in Pyongyang to put pressure on USA trade negotiators.

Some Republicans warned Trump that congressional seats held by their party that should have been safe in midterm elections were endangered by the trade dispute. Several farm-state lawmakers expressed relief that a damaging round of tariffs is - for now - no longer on the horizon.

United States companies that make automobiles, semiconductors and other complex products bemoan Chinese government requirements that force USA firms to form joint ventures with Chinese companies, sharing their technology.

But Trump loyalists including Bannon and campaign trade adviser Dan DiMicco were among the loudest critics of the president's retreat.

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