US-China Trade Negotiations Have Collapsed

Mixed signals

Ongoing tensions between Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross have complicated matters and resulted in mixed messages, according to Bloomberg's sources. 

As the de facto spokesman on economic matters within the cabinet, Mnuchin took the lead early in the negotiations. But at different points in the talks, other more hawkish members of the administration have taken the helm, such Ross, which has confused the Chinese. -Bloomberg

President Trump is also said to have grown frustrated with China's reluctance to come to the table with more concessions - particularly after the United States reversed a decision to impose harsh restrictions on Chinese telecom-equipment manufacturer ZTE Corp., according to a White House official who did not want to be identified. 

Trump also doesn't think China has been very helpful with regards to encouraging North Korea to abandon their nuclear weapons program. 

“We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!”

Meanwhile, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has a “great deal of concern” about the friction with China - and in particular, the uncertainty it’s creating among Iowa farmers and businesses. Soy futures, a target long expected for China’s retaliation, have fallen around 16% since the end of May making life for US farmers especially painful.

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