Under US President Donald Trump, relations with China have a dramatic edger. But consensus is emerging that the president is losing the first battles. "Now we are offering same deal of fine & employee discipline?" Yet that conflict of interest, too, was foreseeable. One of China's trade demands in talks with the United States this month included removing a ban on selling it integrated circuits.
But amid the sound and fury, what, if anything, is actually changing?
US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that as a favour to China his administration was considering a fresh set of penalties on embattled Chinese company ZTE to replace crippling sanctions imposed last month that threatened to put the firm out of business. The measures have forced the firm, which relies on United States parts to make smart phones and network equipment, to suspend major operations.
"So when you do that, youre really hurting American companies also".
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers that the treatment of ZTE was not "a quid pro quo or anything else" related to trade, and said it would not undermine national security.
"The objective was not to put ZTE out of business".
Congress is also considering other measures to block changes. He took to Twitter to defend his action. But ZTE's fate remained unclear.
DOJ Says Watchdog Will Look Into Trump Campaign Surveillance
Trump lambasted the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation as the "world's most expensive Witch Hunt". Comey later testified to Congress that internal reviews found no information to support the president's tweets.
The reprieve for ZTE, hit by a seven-year ban in April that had crippled its operations, could include China removing tariffs on imported USA agricultural products, as well as buying more American farm goods, two people briefed on the matter told Reuters. "And frankly, it would be a capitulation on the part of the Trump administration".
Steel stocks climbed after the USA said it would slap steep import duties on steel products with origins in China but shipped from Vietnam to evade anti-dumping orders. "He simply passed the buck over to the Secretary of Commerce who wasn't in front of us today", Coons said.
Meanwhile, China has achieved important objectives, both tangible and intangible. And the president tweeted that under a potential deal, China would buy "practically as much as our farmers can produce".
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not return a request for comment on Mr Mnuchin's statement.
The tensions within the administration had erupted at earlier talks in Beijing in a widely reported a shouting match between Mr Mnuchin and a more hawkish adviser, Peter Navarro.
But while American officials played a good cop-bad cop routine and continued to debate amongst themselves, the Chinese media claimed victory.
Bottom line: The tariff dispute remains primarily a war of words - and one the Chinese appear to be winning.
Dow climbs almost 300 points on trade war truce
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.
Mr Mnuchin said the United States expected to see a big increase of between 35 per cent and 40 per cent in agricultural exports to China this year alone and a doubling of energy purchases over the next three to five years. This spring, regulators said they would relax rules for auto and aircraft makers as well.
Tesla shares fell 3.3 per cent, sending the stock to its lowest close since early April, a day after Consumer Reports said the company's new Model 3 vehicle, despite many positives, had "big flaws", highlighting issues with braking.
"And in that communique, you can see where we're going next".
Perhaps this unfavorable truce was the best Mr. Trump could achieve at a time when he also needs Mr. Xi's help dealing with North Korea.
The US launched its probe of Chinese intellectual property practices last summer amid frustration about a series of missile launches.
The tariffs the president threatened "are created to address China's technology theft and their plans to dominate advanced and high technology manufacturing", said Dan DiMicco, chairman of the Coalition for a Prosperous America, which advocates for a hard-line stance, in a statement. To that end he has demanded that the Chinese work to reduce the $US335 billion ($442 billion) trade deficit by $US200 billion.
Can the 'dealmaker' president deliver on North Korea?
North Korea's hacking skills will be an important consideration in the upcoming summit. Mnuchin told DailyMail.com on Monday morning that for now the summit is still on.