President Trump said Monday that his hard-nosed trade negotiations won some concessions from China and not the trade war his critics had predicted, scoring what he crowed was another victory for his "American First" agenda.
The former business executive, who prides himself on his negotiating savvy, is facing criticism for bending to the Chinese government on two key trade disputes in the space of a week, alarming longtime supporters who had welcomed his call for a more confrontational approach to Beijing.
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The U.S. agreed to possibly ease sanctions on ZTE Corp., the second-largest manufacturer of phones in Chia that could go belly up and put 70,000 employees out of work because of the sanctions.
"It's a huge disappointment, given the expectations", Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, told the Post.
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There were, however, more questions for the Trump administration, which stands accused by critics of selling out on plans to stop the theft of US companies' trade secrets in exchange for a quick deal to reduce the USA trade deficit.
However, he agreed with Mr. Trump assessment that previous presidents didn't do enough to confront China's unfair trade practices.
Mnuchin pushed back against the suggestion that the economic team was not aligned, saying that he, Ross and Robert Lighthizer, the USA trade representative, are on the same page.
Threatened U.S. restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States also appeared to be put on the back burner.
The president personally demonstrated an appetite for harsher measures, saying at one point that trade wars were "good and easy to win".
Questions also remained over the administration's handling of ZTE.
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The European Union has said it refuses all trade talks with the United States unless Washington grants a permanent exemption from the painful steel and aluminium tariffs that are set to kick in on June 1.
"If there is minimal progress, I do think Trump will impose tariffs on China", Moore said. But now, national security concerns are causing him to give ground on other economic objectives.
"We are not out of the danger zone yet", said Nick Marro, a China analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit. "He probably believes that China is using the North Korea card in the trade negotiations". Industrial companies and banks made some of the biggest gains, while technology stocks also rose.
President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday touted the deal, which would pause recently announced tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for China's agreement to purchase more USA agricultural and energy products.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been part of the USA negotiating team, is expected to go to China soon to follow up on last week's discussions.
Last year, the US had a record $376 billion deficit with China in the trade of goods; that was the largest by far with any nation. Instead, he said the two sides had agreed on specific targets for individual sectors, such as agriculture and energy.
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