China trade

Why Not Just Ban Huawei From The US Financial System?, Trump Wondered

This plan could still be dusted off.

An errant headline from Fox served to shake already fragile market sentiment on Tuesday, although it’s not clear traders learned anything new.

“Trade sources tell me the Dec 15th tariffs on basically the rest of what China imports into the US are still going forward as of today”, Edward Lawrence said, in a tweet. “I was told the caveat is if Phase One trade deal gets on paper or something else positive happens President could choose not to impose tariffs”.

That tells us exactly nothing.

Clearly, Trump isn’t going to pre-announce a possible announcement around canceling the December 15 escalation. The whole idea is to use that self-imposed deadline as leverage. That escalation has been on the calendar since August 13, when the administration split the new tariffs (initially announced on August 1) into two tranches, one effective from September 1, the other from mid-December.

The point being: Nothing has changed here.

Well, that’s not entirely true. What’s changed is that Trump has seemingly gone back on offense this week, and on multiple fronts, challenging LatAm, Europe and, maybe, China to more tit-for-tat protectionism. That renewed aggression produced one of the worst three-day slides for US equities of the year.

Amid Trump’s London balderdash, another story that’s likely undermining sentiment is a Reuters exclusive that reveals shelved plans to cut Huawei off from the US financial system.

Earlier this year, the administration pondered putting China’s corporate crown jewel on the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals list, an inflammatory move that could have crippled the company well beyond the Commerce department blacklisting.

Huawei would have had the dubious distinction of being added to a list that, at various intervals, has included Iranian officials, Rusal and Venezuelan drug kingpins.

“Officials drafted a memo and held interagency meetings on the issue… showing the extent to which administration officials mulled deploying the United States’ most aggressive sanctioning tool against the Chinese company”, Reuters said Tuesday, citing sources, who also indicated the plans could still be dusted off if relations between Washington and Beijing were to deteriorate further.

It’s hard to overstate how significant such a move would be, so we won’t even waste anybody’s time elaborating on this until it gets closer to becoming a reality.

The bottom line is that if the administration were to go this route, Huawei couldn’t settle business transactions in US dollars. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know.


 

1 comment on “Why Not Just Ban Huawei From The US Financial System?, Trump Wondered

  1. Everything we are seeing is tantamount to throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks… The fact (word fact used loosely here) is that we all recognize someone (guess who) is more or less insane but that creates actions predictably such as what we are seeing…. yet unpredictable because of the fact stated above….

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