China bombshell: White House trade adviser backtracks on US claims of China ‘decoupling’

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Decoupling is the procedure of dividing two nations’ economies and supply chains. The change would be a major alteration in US-China relations.

“There may be a time when we have decoupling, that’s something that the president may consider,” Mr Mnuchin said.

His statement was a response to President Donald Trump’s tweet from June 18.

In the tweet, Trump wrote: “The US certainly does maintain a policy option, under various conditions, of a complete decoupling from China.”

The president’s statement went against US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s declaration before the House Ways and Means Committee on June 17.

During his declaration, Mr Lighthizer said he supported bolstering supply chains in the US but did not agree that the US could decouple from China entirely.

“Do I think that you can sit down and decouple the United States economy from the Chinese economy? No,” Mr Lighthizer said at the time.

“I think that was a policy option years ago. I don’t think it’s a policy, a reasonable policy option at this point.”

But he has now said his comments were taken ‘wildly out of context’, while US President Donald Trump confirmed in a tweet the deal with the China was “fully intact”.

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“Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the agreement,” Trump said on Twitter.

Mr Mnuchin’s claims in Monday’s Fox News interview comes as a follow-up from the Trump administration’s current 19-month trade war with China.

The tensions have so far driven both countries to implement billions of dollars worth of tariffs in each other’s imports.

In early January, the US signed a trade deal with China, but the South China Morning Post stated: ”We must bear in mind that the trade war is not over yet—the US hasn’t revoked all its tariffs on China and China is still implementing its retaliatory measures.”

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“There are still many uncertainties down the road,” it added.

One of the uncertainties is whether each nation will stick to the deal and not break any what they have agreed upon.

The coronavirus pandemic has accentuated these so-called uncertainties as the tension among both countries continue to grow.

Chinese goods still have hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tariffs.

But Trump has warned there could be more tariffs and even “to cut off the whole deal” with China as a penalty for its alleged mishandling of the pandemic.

In response, Chinese officials and state-owned media claimed the US was focusing the attention on China to divert the attention from its own mishandling of the crisis.

During the interview, Mr Mnuchin was enquired about a quote from Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new book.

In the quote Mr Bolton called Mr Mnuchin “a big business Democrat,” adding that he wanted to “go light” on economic tariffs on China and other countries like Iran.

Mr Mnuchin said the book was “full of inaccuracies,” adding that the Trump administration had imposed more tariffs that many past administrations together.

Mr Mnuchin is set to testify to House Financial Services Committee on June 30 at 12.30 pm.

“When it comes to Iran, the president, myself and Secretary Pompeo were 100 percent aligned,” he said.

“Yes, it’s true that John Bolton was not necessarily 100 percent aligned. Let me tell you, it was the president’s policy, not John Bolton’s policy.”

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