White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks with reporters outside the White House, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
OAN Newsroom UPDATED 1:52 PM PT — Monday, December 16, 2019
According to National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, the ‘phase one’ trade deal with China is complete. While speaking to reporters at the White House Monday, he said U.S. exports to China will double under the deal. The White House economic adviser also said China will increase imports of all goods and services, and emphasized the positive effects this will have on economic growth in the U.S.
“It covers IP and it covers tech transfers, and it covers financial services and it covers currencies and so forth,” he explained. “But one of the things it covers…not just agriculture, but the deal includes a Chinese purchase of America goods and services across the board.”
Kudlow pointed out that currency manipulation is a key part of the agreement, and it addresses other major issues like IP theft and foreign access to the Chinese market. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer will sign the deal with the Chinese vice premier in Washington in early January.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer speaks during an event to sign an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement, at the national palace in Mexico City, Tuesday, Dec. 10. 2019. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
During that same press briefing, Kudlow also commented on the USMCA. He said a separate agreement on labor inspections with Mexico will not derail the trade deal and will boost the sides’ compliance with the accord. On Monday, Mexico said it opposed U.S. inspectors monitoring labor conditions at Mexican plants, but the U.S. economic chief stressed that all USMCA members must have the same labor standards.
“We want all the countries that we trade with to have the same worker rights as we do here, to the extent that we will work through with Mexico and Canada on workers rights and union rules,” he stated. “I don’t think that’s going to be difficult, and I know it’s not going to stop the successful passage of USMCA.”
Kudlow went on to say the White House will work on a trade deal with the Britain soon soon as possible, noting impeachment will not slow anything down.
China has retaliated by raising duties on $160 billion of American goods but has been running out of imports for retaliation due to the lopsided trade balance. Beijing also has tried to limit losses to its own economy by avoiding imposing tariffs on high-tech components and other goods required by Chinese manufacturers.
In a conciliatory gesture, China's Ministry of Commerce announced Friday it was waiving punitive duties on U.S. soybeans and pork.
China warns of 'counter measures' against U.S.; Benjamin Hall reports
Gordon Chang, the author of "The Coming Collapse of China," said Thursday that Beijing’s threats of taking "countermeasures" over the U.S. law backing the protests in Hong Kong are “laughable” and is in no position to "anger its best customer" as its economy slumps.
Beijing was quick to admonish President Trump and Congress for passing two bills aimed at supporting human rights in Hong Kong. The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement that the bills will only "strengthen the resolve of the Chinese people, including the Hong Kong people, and raise the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the U.S," and promised vague "countermeasures."
Chang said in an email that anything Beijing can do "will hurt itself more than us, and given how close its economy is to the edge of the cliff the regime could end up doing itself in by retaliating."
He continued, "For four decades, we were told by elites and policymakers that we could not afford to upset China. Wednesday, President Trump did what his predecessors would not do—defend America from a China that is going after us. The same power that is encroaching on Hong Kong’s autonomy is attacking our society across the board."
Hong Kong, a former British colony that was granted semi-autonomy when China took control in 1997, has been rocked by six months of sometimes violent pro-democracy demonstrations after an extradition bill surfaced last summer that– if passed– would have sent alleged criminals in Hong Kong to China for trial.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which was sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., requires that the U.S. conducts yearly reviews into Hong Kong’s autonomy from Beijing. If ever found unsatisfactory, the city's special status for U.S. trading could be tossed.
Up until Wednesday's announcement, Trump did not indicate whether or not he would sign the bill. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to answer a reporter's question about the president's leanings as recent as Tuesday.
"I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong," Trump said in a statement. "They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all."
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which was sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., requires that the U.S. conducts yearly reviews into Hong Kong’s autonomy from Beijing. If ever found unsatisfactory, the city's special status for U.S. trading could be tossed.
The bills were applauded by protesters who see them as a warning to Beijing and Hong Kong.
Joe Biden says his son Hunter Biden is a great guy; Trace Gallagher reports.
As the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry into President Trump deepens, a spotlight has been cast on Hunter Biden ventures abroad not only in Ukraine but in China, where he set about investing while his dad served as vice president.
The questions come as Republicans are demanding that Hunter Biden – the 49-year-old son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden – appear before Congress to testify on his work.
For almost six years, the firm connected to Hunter Biden in China has moved more than $2.5 billion into various automotive, technology, energy, and mining endeavors.
Analysts point to the plethora of “ethical challenges” of Hunter doing such deals in China while his father was in the White House.
“At a time when the Obama administration was trying to pivot to Asia, a policy that ultimately fell flat, one has to at least stop and think what connections between policy and personal interests were there,” said Harry Kazianis, senior director for the Center for the National Interest. “While chances are Hunter Biden was doing what a lot of family members of famous politicians do – cash in on their name – it looks dirty.”
Biden served as one of nine directors of the private equity firm Bohai Harvest RST – better known as BHR Partners – which is 80 percent mandated by shareholders in the Chinese government, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The firm was registered less than two weeks after Biden flew with his then-vice president father on Air Force Two for official business in China in December 2013, but his lawyer has previously stated that talks were in place months earlier.
In the closing days of that December, China’s central bank, the Bank of China in conjunction with Rosemount Seneca – the firm Biden founded in 2009 with John Kerry’s stepson Christopher Heinz and family friend Devon Archer – set up the $1 billion investment joint venture called Bohai Harvest RST. The “RS” signifies Rosemount Seneca, and the “T” is in reference to the Thornton Group, a Massachusetts-based international consulting company established by James Bulger, the nephew of infamous mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger.
FILE: Dec. 4, 2013: from left, Vice President Joe Biden, granddaughter Finnegan Biden, son Hunter Biden, arriving in Beijing, China. (AP)
“The Bank of China is a major Chinese state-run bank, overseen by the powerful China Investment Corporation,” Isaac Stone Fish, a senior fellow at the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, told Fox News. “While it often makes decisions based on economic considerations, it exists to serve the interests of the Chinese Communist Party.”
BHR was named as one of China’s top 10 Mergers & Acquisitions funds in 2017 by Equity Investment Association of China (EIAC) and the Beijing Private Equity Association (BPEA). BHR went on to receive “top honors” at the 2017 China Venture Awards, which also named the CEO Jonathan Li as one of China’s “Top 10 M&A Investors 2016.”
Biden told The New Yorker earlier this year that he did meet with Li on that 2013 taxpayer-funded official visit, but insisted it was a “social meeting.” Biden’s board position, his attorney has stated, was unpaid, and it was not until October 2017 that the younger Biden became a shareholder.
Indeed, the Biden-supported fund fast received notoriety in China. Formed in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone almost six years ago, its website boasts it was the “first cross-border investment private equity firm” and “among China’s first-ever RMB-denominated private equity funds approved by the State Council.”
“BHR benefits from the support of its Chinese stakeholders, including the Bank of China and China Development Bank Capital,” the website reads. “BHR also engages in alternative investments in emerging sectors such as artificial intelligence, FINTECH, automation, and robotics.”
But some of those investments have since been subject to controversy.
Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walks with his sons Beau (L) and Hunter (R) down Pennsylvania Avenue during the inaugural parade in Washington January 20, 2009. (REUTERS)
BHR Partners has invested in Megvii Technology Inc, a leader in the facial recognition arena with his Face ++. In May, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that the technology was associated with a controversial IJOP app used in the surveillance of Uighurs and Chinese Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Megvii later told HRW that the Face++ account contained in the IJOP application code was “never actively used.”
Moreover, in 2015, BHR engaged in a $600 million purchase of Henniges Automotive, the Michigan automotive-suspension systems maker, securing a 49 percent stake. The negotiations were reported to have been mostly conducted by the Chinese government-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China Ltd, which acquired the remaining 51 percent. The deal had to be reviewed and approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
However, the aircraft company has been subject to national security red flags. A year after the deal had closed, national security experts and analysts expressed concerns that the company, a major supplier of military jets in China, had hacked the U.S. networks to steal the design of the F-35 jet and used the design to build its own jet fighters.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the Senate Finance Committee chairman, is now probing whether Hunter Biden inappropriately leveraged his business ties with the suspect Chinese-backed aviation company.
In a letter to Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in August, Grassley raised concerns “over the process by which the Obama administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved the acquisition,” stressing the “conflicts of interest (that) could have influenced CFIUS approval of the Henniges transaction.”
“Congress and the public must fully understand the decision-making process that led to the Henniges approval and the extent to which CFIUS fully considered the transaction’s national security risks,” he wrote, underscoring the Biden and Kerry family associates involved in the deal and pointing out that the Department of State, then under Kerry’s tutelage, “would have played a direct role in the decision to approve the Henniges transaction.”
Devon Archer, far left, with former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, far right, in 2014.
Yet, other experts downplayed national security concerns as being wound up in an epoch of “national hysteria about China.”
“The U.S. has a robust CFIUS mechanism which looked into BHR’s acquisition with AVIC Auto of Henniges Automotive and approved it,” noted Gal Luft, co-director for the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. “The current paranoia has already caused an 80 percent decline in China’s direct investment in the U.S.”
But that isn’t where the Biden-China related woes stop.
In 2014, BHR invested in the IPO of the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Company (CGN), which is focused on the development of nuclear reactors. But in April 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice charged the company with “conspiracy to unlawfully engage and participate in the production and development of special nuclear material outside the United States, without the required authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy.” The DOJ also charged the company’s U.S.-based nuclear engineer and senior advisor “with conspiracy to act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government.”
Some of his China associates have also come under the wrath of the U.S. Department of Justice in the last couple of years.
In March this year, Patrick Ho, 69, the former Hong Kong politician and head of the think-tank wing of the Shanghai-based energy company CEFEC China, was sentenced to three years behind bars for “international bribery and money laundering offenses.” The sentencing took place 16 months after U.S. authorities arrested him.
“Patrick Ho schemed to bribe the leaders of Chad and Uganda in order to secure unfair business advantages for the Chinese energy company he served,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice. “His actions were brazen. Foreign corruption undermines the fairness of international markets, erodes the public’s faith in its leaders, and is deeply unfair to the people and businesses that play by the rules.”
The scheme, the DOJ said, began around September 2014 when Ho attended the annual UN General Assembly in New York. CEFC China was, at that time, “working to expand its operations to Chad.”
But when his colleague Ho was suddenly arrested in November 2017, it was James Biden – the brother of Joe – whose phone buzzed first, with Ho asserting that he was in trouble. James Biden told the New Yorker he believed Ho was instead looking to reach Hunter.
The younger Biden had reportedly agreed to represent Ho in hammering out a multimillion-dollar liquefied natural gas deal with CEFC China, at the request of Ye Jianming, the founder and former chairman of CEFC. Biden has since vowed to the magazine that Ho “wasn’t a shady character at all’ but was instead swept into a “bad luck” situation.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., with committee staffer Daniel Noble at left, concludes a week of public impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP)
Jianming was also apprehended in China at the request of President Xi Jinping in March 2018 for his alleged role in corruption and fell upon the ranks of the famed “missing” Chinese businessmen. Ten months earlier, the oil tycoon – who has not been accused of wrongdoing in the U.S. – was documented to have met with Biden to discuss U.S-based investment opportunities.
While Biden stepped down from his BHR board position last month – his name and picture now scrubbed from the company’s website – it remains to be seen if he will continue to hold his financial venture in the private equity firm.
A lawyer for Biden and BHR Partners did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump, who is currently in the throngs of an impeachment inquiry over whether he illicitly pressured Ukraine’s government to investigate the business dealings of Biden in the region, doubled down last month when he further called on Beijing to also probe if the Biden son had misused his high-profile name to lure Chinese capital for his investments.
The Chinese foreign minister has since declared that Beijing has “no intention of intervening in the domestic affairs of the United States.” Hunter Biden vowed to ABC News last month that he had not acted improperly in terms of ethics with his work abroad, presumably referencing both Ukraine and China, but may have exercised "poor judgment" in taking foreign endeavors while his father was in office. Joe Biden further defended his son during the Democratic debates last month, insisting that the duo "never discussed anything" and thus there "would be no potential conflict.”
Nonetheless, the dealings point to a larger picture of power abuse, ethics and the known Chinese strategy of using big-wig names to further a monetary agenda.
“The job of those high-profile individuals is mostly to lend credibility and prestige to the company and to utilize their connections,” Luft added. “Corporate America invented this practice, and now China mimics it.”
Leland and Gillian weigh in on the state of the U.S. economy.
President Trump said on Tuesday that he is hopeful that a trade deal with China will soon be reached amid concerns in the global stock markets over the continuing trade war.
Speaking at the Economic Club of New York, Trump slammed Beijing for having “ransacked” the United States’ economy and jobs, but said that his administration has made a “tremendous amount of progress” in trade talks with China.
“A significant trade deal with China could happen soon, but only if it’s good for the U.S.,” Trump said.
Trump said recently that the U.S. and China are working to secure a new site to sign a tentative trade truce and the location will be announced soon.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators wanted to finalize the deal in time for Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign it at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile in mid-November. But Chile announced last week that it was canceling the event due to ongoing mass demonstrations.
U.S. and Chinese officials are trying to settle details of the modest trade deal that sidesteps some of the biggest issues dividing the countries.
The world's two biggest economies have wrangled for more than 15 months over U.S. allegations that China steals technology, forces businesses to hand over trade secrets and unfairly subsidizes its technology companies in an aggressive drive to supplant American technological dominance.
On Oct. 11, the sides reached a tentative cease-fire that reassured jittery financial markets. Trump agreed to suspend plans to raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports, and China agreed to buy American farm products. The Trump administration says the Chinese also agreed to do more to protect intellectual property rights.
But nothing was signed Oct. 11, and few details have emerged on the terms of the so-called "phase one" agreement. Chinese leaders have been reluctant to agree to the substantive changes that Washington wants to see. Doing so would likely require scaling back their aspirations to make China a leader in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and driverless cars.
Speaking while receiving the Hudson Institute’s 2019 Herman Kahn Award in New York City, Pompeo said it's time to realize “the degree to which the Communist Party is hostile to the United States and our values” — and thanked President Trump for helping to highlight the issue.
“China’s Communist Party leaders have made clear that they want to achieve primacy in the world,” Pompeo said.
“They’re reaching for it using methods that have created challenges for the United States and the world.
“We collectively need to confront these challenges from [China] head-on – in all their many facets.
“It is no longer realistic to ignore the fundamental differences between our two systems, and the impact that these differences may have on the United States.”
After joking about how the explosive remarks marked a departure from the norm in traditional American foreign policy, Pompeo continued: “We’ve been slow to see the risk China poses to American national security because we wanted friendship with the People’s Republic from the very start. We still hope for it.
“But, in our efforts to achieve this goal, we accommodated and encouraged China’s rise for decades – even at the expense of American values, and security, and good sense.
“We did everything we could to accommodate China’s rise, in the hope that Communist China would become more free, market-driven, and ultimately, hopefully, more democratic.
Pompeo’s fiery remarks came amid tense relations between the two nations, with China’s defense minister swiping at U.S. foreign policy earlier this month by vowing “no one and no force” will get in the way of his country’s annexation of Taiwan — and any nation that tried to do so was “doomed to failure.”
Gen. Wei Fenghe did not refer directly to the U.S. during his opening remarks at the Chinese-sponsored Xiangshan Forum, but he did recite some of Beijing's talking points against Washington and its Western allies, the Associated Press reported.
"No one and no force will be able to stop the course" of China's annexation of Taiwan, Wei said at the security conference in Beijing. “Reunification of the motherland is a justified course and separatist activities are doomed to failure."
Taiwan, a former Japanese colony, split from China amid civil war in 1949 and has enjoyed strong U.S. military and diplomatic backing, despite the lack of formal ties.
Fox News' Jeremy Copas, Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 13 are here. Check out what's clicking on FoxNews.com
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, became one of the few Republican lawmakers to publicly criticize President Trump over his call for China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
“Of course not,” Cruz said when asked a question on CBS’ “Face The Nation” regarding Trump’s request to China to open a probe into the Biden family’s business dealings in the country. Biden is one of the leading Democratic presidential primary candidates and one who may serve as Trump's biggest threat in 2020.
“Elections in the U.S. should be decided by Americans, and it's not the business of foreign countries, any foreign countries, to be interfering in our elections,” Cruz said.
Trump said this month at the White House that “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.” He said he hadn’t previously asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to investigate the former vice president and his son Hunter, but it’s “certainly something we could start thinking about.”
By publicly egging on China, Trump was amplifying the message he’d delivered in private to the president of Ukraine. That message, revealed by a government whistleblower, has spawned the impeachment investigation by the House.
Trump, who has defended his contact with Ukraine as “perfect,” went further in expanding his request to China, a communist world power that has much at stake in its relationship with the United States in an ongoing trade war.
The boldness of Trump’s call Thursday also suggests he will continue to act as though requests for other countries to investigate potential opponents in the 2020 election are normal, even in the face of broad condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans. It’s a tactic Trump has used successfully before, pushing questionable secret conversations into the open, helping to inoculate him against charges that he is engaged in nefarious action, cover-ups or obstruction of justice.
Trump over the weekend continued to lash out at the Bidens – specifically targeting Hunter Biden Sunday morning in a tweet and implying that he had disappeared. Trump’s tweet came hours after Hunter Biden's attorney announced his client is stepping down from the board of a Chinese company and vowed that he will not work with foreign companies if his father becomes president.
“Where’s Hunter? He has totally disappeared!” Trump tweeted. “Now looks like he has raided and scammed even more countries! Media is AWOL.” Trump did not elaborate on which countries, or what the alleged scams were.
Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 7 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
Lawmakers from across the political spectrum came together Monday – if only for a moment – to slam the NBA for essentially apologizing to China over a tweet by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey that expressed support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The Morey tweet, which read, "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong," prompted multiple Chinese businesses and organizations — including the sportswear brand Li-Ning, SPD Bank and the Chinese Basketball Association — to condemn the team and suspend their work with the franchise. The Chinese consulate in Houston also scolded the Rockets, saying: "We have lodged representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Houston Rockets… Anybody with conscience would support the efforts made by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard Hong Kong’s social stability."
But American lawmakers, including from the team's home state of Texas, accused the Rockets and the NBA of appeasing a repressive Chinese government out of concern for their financial interests. The NBA is investing heavily in China, a market with 1.4 billion potential fans and a deep connection to Houston — Hall of Fame center and former Rocket Yao Ming, the legendary Chinese basketball player, is president of China's official basketball association.
"As a lifelong @HoustonRockets fan, I was proud to see @dmorey call out the Chinese Communist Party's repressive treatment of protestors in Hong Kong," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted. "Now, in pursuit of big $$, the @nba is shamefully retreating."
Julián Castro, a Democratic presidential candidate from Texas, also issued a strong condemnation of China's treatment of protesters in the semi-autonomous former British colony of Hong Kong, who are advocating for increased freedom and democracy as they rail against what they say is oppression coming from Beijing.
"China is using its economic power to silence critics—even those in the U.S.," Castro tweeted. "The United States must lead with our values and speak out for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, and not allow American citizens to be bullied by an authoritarian government."
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, backed Castro, tweeting that he was glad to agree with the one-time Obama Housing and Urban Development secretary.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday that he found the acquiescence to China from the NBA and the Rockets "unacceptable."
'Basketball fans and the American people more broadly should have absolutely no doubt about what is happening here: The NBA wants money, and the Communist Party of China is asking them to deny the most basic of human rights. In response, the NBA issued a statement saying money is the most important thing.'
"No one should implement a gag rule on Americans speaking out for freedom," he tweeted Monday morning. "I stand with the people of Hong Kong in their pursuit of democratic rights. I stand with Americans who want to voice their support for the people of Hong Kong."
Other prominent lawmakers expressing concern about the reaction to Morey's tweet included Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb. Sasse accused the NBA of putting money ahead of human rights in a scathing reproach Monday morning.
"Basketball fans and the American people more broadly should have absolutely no doubt about what is happening here: The NBA wants money, and the Communist Party of China is asking them to deny the most basic of human rights," he said. "In response, the NBA issued a statement saying money is the most important thing."
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was quick to distance the team from Morey's statement on Friday. Quoting Morey's now-deleted post, he said that the GM spoke only for himself and emphasized the Rockets are "NOT a political organization."
Houston Rockets star and 2017-18 NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden also distanced himself from Morey's post supporting freedom in Hong Kong.
The NBA said Monday on that account that it was “extremely disappointed” by Morey’s “inappropriate” tweet about Hong Kong, which “severely hurt the feelings of Chinese fans.”
Similarly harsh toward Morey was a long statement by Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai.
"Supporting a separatist movement in a Chinese territory is one of those third-rail issues, not only for the Chinese government, but also for all citizens in China," he wrote in a Facebook post. "1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland. This issue is non-negotiable."
This controversy comes after many American politicians issued rebukes of the Chinese Communist Party last week on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"To see the price of the [People's Republic of China's] anniversary celebration, look no further than what's happening in Hong Kong: a ceaseless war against those who wish to live in freedom," Sen. Tom Cotton R-Ark., said. "From the Great Leap Forward to the Cultural Revolution to the camps in Xinjiang today, it has been a ghoulish 70 years of Chinese Communist Party control."
Some Republicans broke with President Trump in those statements, however, as the president tweeted his congratulations to China on the anniversary.
Fox News' Ryan Gaydos and David Aaro, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
President Trump speaks to reporters as he departs the White House for Florida, urges the governments of Ukraine and China to investigate the business dealings of Joe and Hunter Biden.
President Trump said Thursday that China should investigate the business dealings of 2020 rival Joe Biden's son, Hunter, as he doubled down on his prior — and controversial — call for Ukraine to do the same.
Trump struck a characteristically defiant tone while speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn, en route to Florida.
"China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened with China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine," Trump said. "I’m sure that President Xi [Jinping] does not like being under that kind of scrutiny where billions of dollars is taken out of his country by a guy that just got kicked out of the Navy."
His call for a Chinese investigation into the Bidens comes as the House moves forward with an impeachment inquiry against Trump for pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the summer to "look into" the family's dealings — referring to an old investigation involving gas company Burisma Holdings where Hunter served on the board, and the elder Biden's role ousting a prosecutor who had been looking into them.
With his China comments, Trump was referencing another side-plot involving the former VP's son — including a 2013 trip to Beijing on Air Force Two in which Hunter Biden tagged along. While it is not unusual for families to join such trips, NBC News reported that Hunter Biden was attempting to start a big-money private equity fund — Chinese authorities issued the business license for the fund 10 days after the trip was over.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden (L) waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden and son Hunter Biden at the airport in Beijing December 4, 2013. (Reuters)
Biden campaign Chairman Cedric Richmond dismissed Trump's comments on China, saying it is a reprisal of his Ukrainian efforts to taint Biden and a reflection of polling showing Biden leading Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.
"This president is scared, and he's acting out," the Louisiana congressman said.
The Biden campaign charged that Trump's comments were "equivalent" to his call in 2016 for Russia to release Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's emails if they had obtained them by hacking — which U.S. intelligence agencies later assessed to be the case. Biden communications director and deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield called it "a grotesque choice of lies over truth and self over the country."
The money figure cited by Trump has been disputed by a spokesman for Hunter Biden. The Washington Post recently reported that the firm behind the fund said they planned to raise $1.5 billion, but a spokesman said Hunter Biden bought only a 10 percent equity interest in the fund that was actually worth $430,000.
Nonetheless, Trump said Chinese authorities should look into Hunter Biden's business dealings in their country.
"He got kicked out of the Navy," Trump told reporters Thursday. "All of a sudden he’s getting billions of dollars. You know what they call that? They call that a payoff.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a toast after delivering his speech at a dinner marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he has not asked Xi to investigate the Biden family's business dealings, but that, "it's certainly something we could start thinking about." (Associated Press)
Biden, speaking recently to reporters in Iowa, had said he'd "never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings." Fox News reported Tuesday, however, the former vice president appeared in a 2014 photo with Hunter Biden and Devon Archer, who served on the board of Burisma Holdings at the same time as Hunter. Biden allies maintain his intervention in Ukraine had to do with corruption concerns.
When asked by a reporter if he had spoken to President Xi about the Chinese opening an investigation into the Bidens, Trump said, "I haven’t but it’s certainly something we could start thinking about."
Later in his conversation with reporters, Trump speculated that there could be more countries in which Hunter Biden had allegedly illicit business activity.
"I think Biden is going down," Trump said, "because now you may very well find that there are many other countries that they've scammed, just like they scammed China and Ukraine and basically who are they really scamming? The U.S.A and it's not good.
"And that's probably why China for so many years has had a sweetheart deal where China rips off the U.S.A., because they deal like people with Biden where they give the son a billion-and-a-half dollars, and that's probably why China has such a sweetheart deal where for so many years they've been ripping off our country."
Fox News' Alex Pappas and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 1 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
Then-Vice President Joe Biden’s 2013 official trip to China with his son, Hunter, is coming under fresh scrutiny, as President Trump and Republicans question Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings while his father served in the Obama administration.
Biden, his son Hunter, and his granddaughter Finnegan, flew on Air Force Two for the official trip to Beijing in December 2013. While it’s typical for the families of the president and vice president to travel with them, questions have been raised about whether Hunter Biden used the government trip to further his business interests.
“What wasn't known then was that as he accompanied his father to China, Hunter Biden was forming a Chinese private equity fund that associates said at the time was planning to raise big money, including from China,” journalist Josh Lederman, who was one of four reporters on the trip, wrote in a story for NBC News on Wednesday.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden and son Hunter Biden at the airport in Beijing December 4, 2013. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool
“Hunter Biden has acknowledged meeting with Jonathan Li, a Chinese banker and his partner in the fund during the trip, although his spokesman says it was a social visit,” Lederman added. “The Chinese business license that brought the new fund into existence was issued by Shanghai authorities 10 days after the trip, with Hunter Biden a member of the board.”
The renewed focus on the trip comes as Democrats ramp up their impeachment inquiry into Trump. Democrats are moving ahead with those efforts after a whistleblower complained that Trump, in a July phone call, pressed the president of Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings in that country.
Biden and his campaign has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Andrew Bates, a campaign spokesman, called the questions over the China trip a "conspiracy theory."
Trump has repeatedly referenced Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China.
“When Biden’s son walks out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund, and the biggest funds in the world can’t get money out of China, and he’s there for one quick meeting and he flies in on Air Force Two, I think that’s a horrible thing,” Trump said last month. “I think it’s a horrible thing.”
Trump also said of Biden on Sept. 24: “Ask how his son made millions of dollars from Ukraine, made millions of dollars from China, even though he had no expertise whatsoever.”
The money figure cited by Trump has been disputed by a spokesman for Hunter Biden. The Washington Post recently reported that the firm behind the fund said they planned to raise $1.5 billion, but a spokesman said Hunter Biden bought only a 10 percent equity interest in the fund that was actually worth $430,000.
“To date, Mr. Biden has not received any return or compensation on account of this investment or his position on the board of directors,” the spokesman told the Washington Post. “The characterization of Mr. Biden as owning a $1.5 billion private equity firm funded by the Chinese, or suggesting that Mr. Biden has earned millions of dollars from the firm is a gross misrepresentation of Mr. Biden’s role with BHR.”
The spokesman also told NBC News that Hunter Biden didn't acquire equity interest until after his father had left office in 2017.
Earlier this month, Joe Biden told Fox News in Iowa that he never discussed his son’s foreign business dealings with him.
“I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” Biden said.
Director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy Jim Carroll told Fox News on Tuesday the administration expects Beijing to do more to help fight the fentanyl epidemic. "The Chinese government needs to step up and do more to stop the flow of drugs coming out of that country."
Carroll, who recently returned from an official visit to China with other top U.S. drug policy officials, said Washington managed to secure a number of fresh commitments from Beijing, noting that the country:
* had enacted tougher sentencing laws for drug distributors and manufacturers
* agreed to share actionable intelligence on the whereabouts of illegal fentanyl shipments
* redoubled its efforts to stiffen postal controls to keep drug shipments from making their way into the U.S.
Carroll said there's much more to come. "We expect the Chinese to begin making arrests, conducting investigations and putting people away who are sending drugs to this country."
The nation's drug czar said he understood why some Americans might be wary of promises made by the Chinese but remained optimistic. "I was one of those skeptics and I still am skeptical. It's time for them to act. Time is up. They're on the clock."
The problem has been acute. Over the weekend, Ohio's most populous county reported 10 deaths from drug overdoses in just a 26-hour period that ended Sunday morning. Fentanyl use was suspected.
Worse, it's been part of a shocking trend, with overdose deaths related to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids up over 800 percent since 2013.
At home and abroad, President Trump has targeted the fight against fentanyl as one of his administration's most important goals, even giving the Department of Health and Human Services $1.8 billion to help states and communities fight the crisis.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Sept. 11 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
Sen. Ted Cruz is calling on the Trump administration to block China from installing a controversial former head of the Hong Kong police force at the helm of a United Nations office meant to fight drug trafficking, organized crime and corruption.
China’s candidate Andy Tsang-Wai-hung was nominated by Beijing earlier this summer to be the next executive director of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). His candidacy, critics warn, marks yet another sign of China’s growing influence at the world body.
The annual budget of the organization for the year is around a quarter-billion dollars. Texas Republican Sen. Cruz — who has sponsored legislation to halt Chinese infiltration on U.S. campuses and research institutions — told Fox News in a statement that such Chinese efforts need to be stymied.
"The Chinese Communist Party has systematically pursued a policy of joining and exploiting international organizations to advance their agenda. The pattern is the same across issues as varied as the WTO, Internet governance, Interpol, and human rights bodies,” he said.
The Texas senator who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called on the administration to make sure Beijing is halted in its ambitions.
“The UN has no business putting yet another Communist Party cutout in a leadership position, especially one with a direct history of advancing China's abuses in Hong Kong. The Trump administration should use its voice and vote to block this appointment."
As Hong Kong police chief in 2014, Tsang was responsible for putting down pro-democracy protesters who demanded democratic elections for chief executive. More recently he served as China’s deputy director for its narcotics control commission.
Gordon Chang, a China expert, told Fox News that Tsang was “known to be a hardliner” when he ran the Hong Kong police.
“[He] headed the police in 2014 when the police used tear gas during the Occupy protests," Chang said. "The use of tear gas reignited the protests as ordinary citizens immediately turned off their televisions and took to the streets to show their indignation. Tsang, whether he made the decision to use tear gas or merely followed the orders of Chief Executive C. Y. Leung, was held responsible for one of the worst moves during that time.”
Chang also noted Tsang’s current position. “Any candidate proposed for a drug enforcement post by a one-party state behind some of the world's most dangerous drug networks should be rejected out of hand.” He said Tsang did not stop China's fentanyl rings “even though he had all the tools of a semi-totalitarian state at his disposal.”
He asked: “Is he really going to be more effective because he would move to Vienna? This would be a hideous appointment.”
But Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said over the summer that Tsang’s candidacy demonstrated, “China's concrete action in support of multilateralism and work of the UN. We will devote more efforts to fighting transnational organized crime and strengthening international counter-narcotic cooperation.”
China in recent years has become the second-largest contributor to the U.N. after the U.S., and has sought to widen its sphere of influence. It now runs four out of 15 U.N. specialized agencies.
A State Department official recently stated to Fox News that the U.S. was not retreating from the U.N. and said the administration was well aware of China’s ambitions.
“China’s concerted push has more to do with advancing its self-serving interests and authoritarian model than demonstrating genuine leadership consistent with the principles and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the U.N Charter,” the official said.
And while some diplomats at the U.N. feel Tsang’s candidacy is unlikely to result in another win for China, the government's U.N. engagement is on full display all the same.
A Heritage Foundation report titled, “How the U.S. Should Address Rising Influences at the United Nations,” authored by senior research fellow Brett Schaefer, noted China’s rise at the U.N. is “not a recent phenomenon.” The claim runs against news reports that assert China’s ascension is due to the Trump administration's pullback from the world body.
The report also said the U.S. should “focus its effort and resources on countering Chinese influence, advancing U.S. policy preferences, and increasing employment of U.S. nationals, particularly in senior positions, in those organizations whose remit affects key U.S. interests.”
Trump pumps breaks on China trade deal; Gillian Turner reports.
George Soros, the left-wing billionaire, offered partial praise for President Trump in an op-ed published Monday night over his tough stance on China but went on to urge Congress not to allow the president to use Huawei—the second-largest smartphone maker in the world—as a bargaining chip in his fight for reelection.
Soros, who famously shorted the British pound in 1992 and made a $1 billion profit, penned the op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He said perhaps Trump's only foreign policy win during his presidency was "the development of a coherent and genuinely bipartisan policy toward Xi Jinping ’s China," and his administration's move to declare Beijing a "strategic rival."
Soros also praised the administration's move to place Huawei on the Commerce Department’s so-called "entity list," which prevents U.S. companies from dealing the telecom giant.
Huawei has called the action by the Trump administration a violation of "free-market competition."
Soros wrote about the tense competition in the 5G market and said the U.S. has a commanding lead over China. But he warned that Trump "may soon undermine his own China policy and cede the advantage to Beijing."
He said he believes Trump wants to free himself from any constraints by Congress and be able to remove Huawei from the list at his own discretion. China has insisted that Huawei be removed from the list as a prerequisite for any trade agreement.
"In my view, he wants to arrange a meeting with President Xi Jinping as the 2020 election approaches and make a trade deal with him, and he wants Huawei's status on the table as one of his bargaining chips," Soros wrote.
Soros called on Congress to act and pointed to Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Sen. Mitt Romney, R- Utah, for introducing amendments that would require Congress’ blessing for removal.
"As founder of the Open Society Foundations, my interest in defeating Xi Jinping’s China goes beyond U.S. national interests," he wrote. "As I explained in a speech in Davos earlier this year, I believe that the social-credit system Beijing is building, if allowed to expand, could sound the death knell of open societies not only in China but also around the globe."
Rep. Debbie Dingell shares her perspective on President Trump's tariffs against China.
Despite multiple indications last month of a possible breakthrough in trade negotiations, the United States and China went ahead with their latest tariff increases on each other's goods Sunday, potentially raising prices Americans pay for some clothes, shoes, sporting goods and other consumer items in advance of the holiday shopping season.
The 15 percent U.S. taxes apply to about $112 billion of Chinese imports. All told, more than two-thirds of the consumer goods the United States imports from China now face higher taxes. The administration had largely avoided hitting consumer items in its earlier rounds of tariff hikes.
But with prices of many retail goods now likely to rise, the Trump administration's move threatens the U.S. economy's main driver: consumer spending. As businesses pull back on investment spending and exports slow in the face of weak global growth, American shoppers have been a key bright spot for the economy.
As a result of Trump's higher tariffs, many U.S. companies have warned that they will be forced to pass on to their customers the higher prices they will pay on Chinese imports. Some businesses, though, may decide in the end to absorb the higher costs rather than raise prices for their customers.
A protestor uses a shield to cover himself as he faces policemen in Hong Kong, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. Protesters and police are standing off in Hong Kong on a street that runs through the bustling Causeway Bay shopping district. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Trump told reporters in August that Apple CEO Tim Cook privately made a "very compelling argument" that the administration's tariffs on Chinese-assembled goods have made an unfair impact on the California-based tech giant, because its chief rival, Samsung, has conducted most of its manufacturing in South Korea and did not have to pay the levy.
Even more tariffs loom on the horizon. On Dec. 15, the Trump administration is scheduled to impose a second round of 15 percent tariffs — this time on roughly $160 billion of imports. If those duties take effect, virtually all goods imported from China will be covered, including all major Apple products.
In China, authorities began charging higher duties on American imports at midday Sunday, according to employees who answered the phone at customs offices in Beijing and the southern port of Guangzhou.
After Sunday's tariff hike, 87 percent of textiles and clothing the United States buys from China and 52 percent of shoes will be subject to import taxes.
The Chinese government has released a list of American imports targeted for penalties on Dec. 15 if the U.S. tariff hikes take effect. In total, Beijing says Sunday's penalties and the planned December increases will apply to $75 billion of American goods.
Washington and Beijing are locked in a war over U.S. complaints that China steals U.S. trade secrets and unfairly subsidizes its own companies in its drive to develop global competitors in such high-tech industries as artificial intelligence and electric cars.
To try to force Beijing to reform its trade practices, the Trump administration has imposed import taxes on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese imports, and China has retaliated with tariffs on U.S. exports.
Trump has insisted that China itself pays the tariffs. But in fact, economic research has concluded that the costs of the duties fall on U.S. businesses and consumers. Trump had indirectly acknowledged the tariffs' impact by delaying some of the duties until Dec. 15, after holiday goods are already on store shelves.
A study by J.P. Morgan found that Trump's tariffs will cost the average U.S. household $1,000 a year. That study was done before Trump raised the Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 tariffs to 15 percent from 10 percent.
The president has also announced that existing 25 percent tariffs on a separate group of $250 billion of Chinese imports will increase to 30 percent on Oct. 1.
University of Maryland business professor Peter Morici on what the China trade tariffs mean for your wallet.
That cost could weaken an already slowing U.S. economy. Though consumer spending grew last quarter at its fastest pace in five years, the overall economy expanded at a modest 2 percent annual rate, down from a 3.1 percent rate in the first three months of the year.
Fox News Flash top headlines for August 28 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
EXCLUSIVE: The White House shot back at China and its multibillion-dollar global infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), this week, saying any outcomes would be "highly dubious" and other countries should be wary of working with China.
The BRI consists of China’s planned economic infrastructure projects and investments in dozens of countries around the world. While China has claimed its investments will benefit other countries, the initiative has been viewed as China’s way to create its own trading economy, with an eye toward dominating global affairs and creating financial dependencies.
“China’s Belt and Road Initiative purports to address the legitimate infrastructure demands of the world’s less-developed economies, but primarily aims to export China’s own economic imbalances – industrial overcapacity, excess labor, large foreign currency reserves – and to convert these into political influence and strategic military access,” a senior administration official told Fox News on Wednesday.
“In most or all cases, China’s state-driven approach to infrastructure development has facilitated corruption, enabled poor fiscal management and damaged economic governance and institutionality in recipient countries,” the official said. “It hasn’t taken long for much of the world to recognize that for all of China’s claims, the development outcomes of its infrastructure projects are highly dubious.”
A war of words also escalated between China and National Security Adviser John Bolton, who this week warned Ukraine not to become subject to China’s machinations.
Ahead of his trip to Ukraine, Bolton warned about the dangers of BRI. After meeting with officials in Kiev, Bolton said the two countries “share a common commitment to preserving Ukraine’s security and sovereignty, and to ensuring it is not subject to Chinese economic exploitation.”
China hit back with its own statement.
“We firmly oppose Mr. Bolton's attempt to smear BRI cooperation and to drive a wedge between China and other countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said Wednesday during a news conference, noting that Bolton’s comment “came as nothing new to us.”
“Unlike the 'America First’ policy pursued by some in the U.S., the principle China upholds in its BRI cooperation with over 160 countries and international organizations is extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, which has produced mutually beneficial results,” Shuang said. “It is the same with our cooperation with Ukraine. I believe most countries in the world are capable of making independent, fact-based policy choices that are in their own interests.”
China has signaled it might buy Motor Sich, a Ukrainian aircraft engine maker, which concerns Bolton and the administration.
Asia analyst Gordon Chang weighs in on the contents of Trump's new trade deal with Japan and its potential impact on U.S.-China relations.
President Trump, at a press conference on the sidelines of the G-7 summit, said Monday that he trusts China's sincerity with regard to negotiating a possible deal to ease the trade war between the two economic powers.
During a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Biarritz, France Monday, Trump was asked by Fox News' John Roberts whether he believed Beijing was genuine in their offer to negotiate a trade agreement.
"I do," Trump said. "I think they want to make a deal very badly. I think that was elevated very late in the night…The vice chairman of China came out that he wants to see a deal made and that it wants it to be made under calm conditions…I agree with him on that."
"I believe they want to do a deal," Trump said, touting Chinese President Xi Jinping as a "great leader" and a "brilliant man," while warning that the trade war would "break down the Chinese system of trade."
"I'm not sure they have a choice, I don't say that as a threat," Trump said Monday. "Meanwhile, the United States, who has never collected 10 cents from China, will, in a short period of time, have more than $100 billion in tariffs, so I think they want to make a deal very badly."
The president’s comments come amid rapid-fire developments in the trade war between the U.S. and China. The president, after urging American businesses to abandon China, over the weekend threatened to declare a national emergency and freeze those relationships—as China imposed retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods and the Trump administration announced increased tariffs on $550 billion in Chinese goods.
But early Monday, China signaled it was seeking a “calm” end to that ongoing trade war, as Asian markets crumbled and China’s currency hit an 11-year low. According to The Wall Street Journal, Chinese officials expressed interest to “get back to the table” in trade negotiations, which Trump called a “very positive development.”
“They want to make a deal. That’s a great thing,” Trump said.
The yuan slipped to 7.1487 to the dollar on Monday—taking a dive after the Treasury Department formally designated China a currency manipulator. The Treasury Department said it would work with the International Monetary Fund to try to address the “unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.”
But the yuan slipping could ultimately help struggling local exporters who want their products to be less expensive for international purchasers. People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang, though, has insisted that China does not “engage in competitive devaluation.”
Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that if “China would agree to a fair and balanced relationship, we would sign that deal in a second.”
The trade war has not only impacted Chinese and Asian markets—U.S. markets have also plummeted, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average nosediving more than 600 points Friday after the latest escalation between the U.S. and China. The major drop put the S&P 500 at its fourth straight weekly loss.
The Dow plunge came after Trump tweeted that he “hereby ordered” U.S. companies with operations in China to consider moving them to other countries—including the U.S.
After the market closed on Friday, Trump vowed to increase existing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent, and that new tariffs on another $300 billion of imports would be at 15 percent, instead of 10 percent—as promised in May when the administration first announced the U.S.’s controversial move to increase tariffs on Chinese good after trade talks between Washington and Beijing failed to come to an agreement.
Fox News' Gregg Re, Ronn Blitzer, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The Heritage Foundation research fellow James Roberts weighs in on President Trump's approach to trade policy with China.
China signaled on Monday it was now seeking a rapid and "calm" end to its ongoing trade war with the U.S., as Asian markets crumbled and China's currency plummeted to an 11-year low following the latest tariffs on $550 billion in Chinese goods announced last Friday by the Trump administration.
News of the possible opening in negotiations came shortly after President Trump threatened to declare a national emergency that would result in American businesses freezing their relationships with China. Trump's tariff barrage on Friday came after hours China imposed its own retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods.
But the Trump administration appeared unfazed on Sunday. Responding to reports that Trump had indicated his resolve was wavering at the Group of Seven summit in France, White House officials insisted that the president's only regret was not implementing even more initial tariffs on China. Trump wrote on Twitter that world leaders at the G-7 were "laughing" at all the inaccurate media coverage of the gathering.
In response, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He told a state-controlled newspaper that "China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through calm negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict," Reuters reported.
A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Speaking at a technology conference in China, Liu added: “We believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial for China, the United States, nor to the interests of the people of the world."
“We welcome enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China,” Liu said. “We will continue to create a good investment environment, protect intellectual property rights, promote the development of smart intelligent industries with our market open, resolutely oppose technological blockades and protectionism, and strive to protect the completeness of the supply chain.”
Asian shares tumbled Monday, with Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 started plummeting as soon as trading began and stood at 20,234.87 in the morning session, down 2.3 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.5 percent to 6,427.20. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.7 percent to 1,916.14. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 3.3 percent to 25,309.37, while the Shanghai Composite was down 1.2 percent at 2,862.87.
The yuan also dropped to 7.1487 to the dollar, weeks after the Treasury Department formally designated China a currency manipulator. The Treasury Department said it will work with the International Monetary Fund to try to rectify the “unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.”
"The gloves are coming off on both sides and as such yuan depreciation is an obvious cushion against US tariffs," Mitul Kotecha, a senior emerging markets economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, told Bloomberg News.
Stephen Innes, managing partner at Valour Markets in Singapore, compared the difficulty of assessing the volatile market situation to reading tea leaves.
"Nobody understands where the president is coming from," he said, adding that the best thing Trump can do for market stability is to "keep quiet."
"The problem that we're faced right now is that we are making a lot of assumptions ahead of the economic realities."
A computer screen shows images of Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and U.S. President Donald Trump as a currency trader works at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
The market is now dominated by fears of a portending U.S. recession, although the American economy is actually holding up, and much of the U.S. economy is made up of consumption, Innes said. If interest rates come down, he added, consumer spending is likely to go up, working as a buffer for the economy.
"What the market's really waiting for is for them to drop interest rates," Innes said. "Right now, we are still sitting on that uncertainty."
“Every Democrat and every Republican of note has said China cheats,” Graham said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “The Democrats for years have been claiming that China should be stood up to, now Trump is and we’ve just got to accept the pain that comes with standing up to China.”
U.S. markets have also taken a beating. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 600 points Friday after the latest escalation in the trade war between the U.S. and China rattled investors. The broad sell-off sent the S&P 500 to its fourth straight weekly loss.
The tumbling began after Trump responded angrily on Twitter following China's announcement of new tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods. In one of his tweets he "hereby ordered" U.S. companies with operations in China to consider moving them to other countries — including the U.S.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Sunday that Democrats should not criticize President Trump for taking on China over trade as they have complained for years about Beijing’s policies but done nothing.
“Every Democrat and every Republican of note has said China cheats,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “The Democrats for years have been claiming that China should be stood up to, now Trump is and we’ve just got to accept the pain that comes with standing up to China.”
Graham added: “To my Democratic colleagues: he’s doing the things you’ve been calling for all these years.”
Graham’s comments come as Trump faced a tense reception from his counterparts on the world stage as they gathered in a French beach resort for the Group of Seven summit.
Trump suggested during a breakfast meeting with United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he harbored qualms about the spiraling conflict. "Yeah. For sure," he told reporters when asked if he had any second thoughts about ramping up tariffs on China after Beijing imposed new tariffs to retaliate against earlier tariff moves by the U.S.
Then hours later, however, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying the news media had "greatly misinterpreted" Trump's response. Grisham said the president only responded "in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."
Trump had been trying to use the summit to rally the other leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the U.S. before he stands for reelection in November 2020.
His summit counterparts are trying to convince him to back off the trade conflicts with China and other countries, seeing the disputes as contributing to the overall economic weakening.
The meetings come days after Trump responded to China's announcement Friday that it would slap new tariffs on $75 billion in American goods with more tariffs of his own. Trump also issued an extraordinary threat to declare a national emergency in an attempt to force U.S. businesses to cut ties with China.
Graham on Sunday did admit that the trade war would hurt some of his constituents – saying “consumer prices on commodities are going to go up” – but called it a necessary evil to take on Beijing.
“Until [the Chinese] feel the pain they’re not going to stop,” he said. “They never will until they feel a heavier price.”
The gathering of world leaders plan to discuss a variety of topics, ranging from the global economy to climate change.
White House National Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday denied reports that world leaders are warning the Trump administration that tariffs levied by Washington could lead to a global recession.
Kudlow pushed back on a comment made by United Kingdom Prime Minister – and close Trump ally – Boris Johnson at this weekend’s G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, about fears of a global recession coming from Trump’s ongoing trade war with China.
Kudlow said the summit had “gone very well,” during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
"Better than we thought, with a very positive vibe,” he said. “I would go so far and say that it's been a solid gathering.”
As for Johnson’s concerns, Kudlow criticized CNN for only playing on air a fraction of the U.K. leader’s comments and said they were taken out of context.
"I'm not sure I agree with how you portray that. I was in that meeting," Kudlow said. “Sometimes, you're taking a quote out of context.”
Kudlow said that Trump is not having second thoughts about hiking tariffs on China, a move that further escalated the trade war that is rattling financial markets worldwide, even though the president seemed to say Sunday that he had second thoughts about fueling the trade war with China.
Kudlow said the only second thought the president had was that he didn't raise the tariffs higher than he did.
Last week, Beijing slapped new tariffs on $75 billion in American goods. Kudlow says China's retaliatory action was a "moderate action" and Trump took a "measured, proportionate" action in response by increasing tariffs by 5 percentage points on Chinese goods.
On Saturday, Trump said that the U.S. and Japan have agreed in principle on a new trade agreement.
The two leaders are not going into many details of the pact, but the U.S. is seeking to increase agricultural exports to Japan such as beef, pork and corn. Trump says Japan is expected to make large purchases of corn as part of the agreement.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says there is still some work left to do, but says the proposal would have "immense positive impacts" on the economies of both the U.S. and Japan.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin joins Chris Wallace for an exclusive interview on 'Fox News Sunday.'
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin clarified some confusion coming out of President Trump’s recent remarks about his approach to China, stating that the president is “determined as ever on this issue.”
Mnuchin, who is in France along with Trump for the G-7 summit, told “Fox News Sunday” that “free, fair and reciprocal trade with China is a major goal of the president, and that he will do whatever he needs to in order to achieve this. That includes planned sanctions, and a willingness to deal with any Chinese retaliation accordingly.
“To the extent the Chinese respond again, the president will consider all his options,” Mnuchin said.
This comes days after the U.S. and China hit each other with tariffs, including China’s Friday announcement of a tariff on $75 billion in American goods. President Trump hit back with additional tariffs.
Sunday morning, Trump seemed to be taking another look at his approach. When asked if he had second thoughts, he said, “Yeah, sure,” noting that he has “second thoughts about everything.”
The White House then issued a statement indicating that this does not mean that the president regrets imposing new tariffs, rather that Trump’s only regret is “not raising the tariffs higher.”
When asked about the mixed messages, Mnuchin clarified by saying Trump “meant to say that he’s determined as ever on this issue,” remains committed to achieving a fair trade deal with China.
Mnuchin also answered questions about some of President Trump’s recent comments about China, including a tweet that painted both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell as enemies.
Regarding Xi, Mnuchin stated that Trump and the Chinese leader are friends, but “as it relates to financial issues in trade, we have become enemies.” As for Trump’s implication that Powell is an enemy, Mnuchin said that should not be taken seriously.
“I don’t think it was a literal comment that he’s an enemy,” he said. Similarly, Mnuchin said that when Trump called himself the “Chosen One,” that too was “tongue in cheek.”