US President Donald J Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He both signed a trade deal during a White House ceremony on Wednesday 15 January after two years of heightened tensions that resulted in several tariffs on hundreds of billions' worth of goods from both countries. The US had also blacklisted Chinese company Huawei, due to security concerns, without offering evidence.
Now, as part of the US and China's new trade deal, or at least phase one of it, the Trump administration has pledged to reduce a portion of tariff rates, while China is committing to buy $200 billion worth of US goods across energy, agriculture, services, and manufacturing. This "phase-one agreement" adds some restrictions, too, on "technology transfers and currency devaluation", according to Politico.
The 86-page deal even includes tighter intellectual-property protections. Read the full text of the agreement here (via Bloomberg).
The Trump administration said a second deal - reportedly covering cybersecurity and possibly Huawei - is still to come. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC early on Wednesday that we can expect more tariff rollbacks, and it doesn't sound like Huawei will be in the clear.
"Just as in this deal there were certain rollbacks, in phase two there will be additional rollbacks," said Mnuchin. "I think a significant amount of the technology issues are in phase one. . . There are certain areas of other services away from financial services that will be in phase two. There’s certain additional cyber security issues that will be in phase two. So, there are still more issues".
He added: "Huawei is not part of the economic dialogue, it is part of the national security dialogue, which is ongoing. These are going to be negotiated separately.”
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Mnuchin emphasised to CNBC that national security issues are a primary concern for the Trump administration, but at the same time, he doesn't view Huawei as a chess piece. "When it comes to our government networks, when it comes to sophisticated business networks, military networks and networks of all of our allies, we want to make sure that those networks are fully secure.”
Prior to Mnunchin's interview, The Wall Street Journal reported the Trump administration planned to continue piling pressure on the still-blacklisted Huawei, by imposing new rules barring sales of foreign-made goods to the company. The report also noted the Commerce Department recently sought to plug a loophole that allowed US firms to sell to Huawei from overseas locations.
So, nothing has changed yet for Huawei, and it might not get better for a while.