Huawei Technologies could be included in a trade deal between the United States and China, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday, adding there was “probably a good possibility” the two sides would ultimately be able to strike an agreement.
The US government put the Chinese telecommunications giant on an entities blacklist last week, and the company is facing multiple indictments by the Department of Justice over alleged economic espionage and violation of US sanctions on Iran.
“Huawei is something that’s very dangerous,” Trump said at the White House after speaking about his plan to give a multibillion-dollar subsidy package to American farmers. “You look at what they’ve done from a security standpoint, from a military standpoint, it’s very dangerous.”
But running counter to previous statements by some members of his trade delegation – including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who has sought to keep trade and national security matters separate during the negotiations – Trump then said, “If we made a deal, I could imagine Huawei possibly being included in some form of or some part of a trade deal.”
After the arrest in Canada of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the US’ request in December, Lighthizer took to national television to say her case was “a criminal justice matter”, telling CBS that it was “totally separate from anything I work on or anything that trade policy people in the administration work on”.
When asked on Thursday what the inclusion of provisions on Huawei in a trade deal would look like, Trump said only that “it would look very good for us”. He declined to offer details, but said: “It’s too early to say.”
Speaking before Trump’s remarks, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman called Washington’s recent treatment of Chinese companies “political” and said that “relevant behaviour by the US was clearly not helping to create a conducive environment for negotiations” on trade.
Beijing’s door remained “wide open” when it came to further rounds of talks, Lu Kang said at a regular press briefing.
But rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies – spurred by escalations in bilateral tariffs and the US action on Huawei – have raised questions about the likelihood that a scheduled meeting between Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in late June could result in any meaningful progress on the trade front.
Trump remained optimistic on Thursday, telling reporters he was “looking forward” to seeing Xi in Osaka, Japan, at the G20 meetings. And despite no immediate plans for further meetings between negotiators, he said there still was a possibility of a trade deal being struck.
“There’s a possibility,” Trump said. “I think probably a good possibility.”
Trump made the remarks after an announcement of “vital action support for American farmers”, which will include US$16 billion in subsidies, paid for by US Treasury revenue from the tariffs his administration has imposed on Chinese goods.
To date, tariffs of 25 per cent are in place on US$250 billion of imports from China, with further duties on the remainder of goods currently under review. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier this week that those taxes were at least a month away.
Trump maintains that his administration’s duties are paid for by Chinese exporters, despite multiple studies, including a recent International Monetary Fund report, that indicate US tariffs are ultimately paid for by consumers, a fact that White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow publicly acknowledged in a May 12 interview with Fox News Sunday.
More from South China Morning Post:
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- Xi Jinping calls for self-reliance as China grapples with long-term US challenge of trade war and ban on Huawei and other technology manufacturers
- Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei says clash with the US was ‘inevitable’
This article Donald Trump says Huawei could ‘possibly be included’ in deal to end trade war first appeared on South China Morning Post