Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, January 16, 2020
What was the real “historic” moment in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday?
Was it when partisan impeachment articles were delivered to the Senate in what conservative observers termed a bizarre ritual?
Or, might it have been when President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed phase one of a major trade deal with far reaching implications?
The major media seemed just as giddy as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she passed out gold pens to commemorate the Democrats’ long-awaited impeachment, a stain on Donald Trump which Pelosi was at pains to explain would remain “forever”.
In a different universe, many of the most prominent CEOs and executives in American business and industry were with Trump at the White House signing a landmark deal between the world’s top two economies.
“To illustrate the economic magnitude of the U.S.-China phase one trade deal one had to look no further than at the CEOs and business executives in attendance at the White House on Wednesday,” Suzanne O’Halloran wrote for FOXBusiness.
“We have a who’s who of the world of business with us,” said Trump.
The business leaders on hand “collectively represent over $2.3 trillion in market value,” O’Halloran pointed out. They included Continental Resources founder Harold Hamm, Blackstone’s Steven Schwarzman, David Abney of UPS and Boeing’s new CEO David Calhoun.
Hamm was an early supporter of Trump’s 2016 campaign. On Wednesday, Trump said Hamm is so skilled he “puts a straw in the ground and oil pours out.”
Following the signing ceremony on Wednesday, Schwarzman told FOXBusiness he’s confident the deal will work. “I think the Chinese had a lot of time to think this one through. Their country is complex, they have the reformers, they have the hardliners, they’ve come together. I’ve been talking to the people who have the responsibility of implementing this deal and they’re all over it.”
Calhoun thanked the Trump administration for getting the deal done. China is one of Boeing’s most important markets.
“Boeing has a long-standing partnership with China that spans nearly 50 years. We’re proud that Boeing airplanes will continue to be a part of this valued relationship, one that has fueled aerospace innovation and sustained manufacturing jobs,” Calhoun said.
“The Phase One trade deal is an important first step in strengthening the rules of trade between the two countries and in particular for providing greater trade predictability to UPS’s small and medium sized customers,” Abney, UPS Chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
One major part of the deal is a pledge by China to purchase an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. farm products and other goods and services over a period of two years or more.
Trump said China would also buy $40 billion to $50 billion in additional U.S. services, $75 billion more in manufacturing goods and $50 billion more of energy supplies.
Meanwhile, Trump did not bow to China’s efforts to persuade the U.S. to drop its criminal prosecution of a senior executive of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies as part of the trade deal.
Beijing officials for months during talks leading up to the landmark trade agreement signed Wednesday had raised the issue of the Justice Department case against Huawei and Meng Wanzhou, the company’s chief financial officer.
“No concessions, however, were made by U.S. negotiators on the Huawei prosecution in the phase 1 deal, since federal criminal prosecutions are outside the scope of the agreement. It also does not appear from the text of the trade agreement that the United States will back off export restrictions of U.S. products to Huawei,” Bill Gertz noted in a report for The Washington Times.
“China has complained that U.S. restrictions on Huawei are aimed at preventing the company from competing internationally. But the U.S. government regards Huawei, which is seeking to dominate the market for next-generation 5G telecommunications networks around the world, as a stalking horse for Chinese electronic spying through its equipment,” Gertz wrote.
Trump said at Wednesday’s signing ceremony: “This is a very important and remarkable occasion. Today, we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China, toward a future with a fair and reciprocal trade as we sign Phase 1 of the historic trade deal between the United States and China. Together, we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families.”