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Trump: Trade Warrior or Happy Dealmaker?

Posted May 14, 2018

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Sean Donnan – Financial Times)

Has the future of the global economy ever hung so heavily on the whims of one man? And have those whims ever been less predictable? Those are the obvious Monday morning questions as Donald Trump continues to roil the global order with his trade policies.

The latest headline-grabbing bit of unpredictability came on Sunday when the US president tweeted what looked a lot like a de facto presidential pardon for ZTE. The Chinese telecommunications company has been eyed warily by US authorities for years as a potential security threat and is deep in an existential crisis after being caught violating the terms of a $1.2bn plea agreement with the US government for selling restricted US technologies to Iran and North Korea. It has been cut off from its US suppliers and on Friday announced that it was suspending operations.

Mr Trump’s response was that he and Xi Jinping were “working together” to find a “way to get [ZTE] back into business, fast”. “Too many jobs in China lost,” he tweeted just as Americans were sitting down to their Mother’s Day brunches. “Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Click here to read more.