China’s hand in cementing a phase one trade deal with the U.S. keeps getting weaker even though many American media outlets keep reporting otherwise because they seem to like Chinese President Xi Jinping better than President Donald Trump, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Monday.
Cramer said on “Squawk Box” that the mainstream media wrongly thinks that “‘Xi is a great Chinese man with great Democratic leanings; member of the WTO. And we have a madman as president.'” Cramer also said, with exasperation, “China is the enemy, except for in the mainstream media that just loves Xi.”
Discounting “negative media reports,” China and the U.S. are very close to a first-step trade deal, according to the Global Times on Monday. The tabloid, run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, also tweets that China remains committed to continuing talks for a “phase two” and even a “phase three” deal.
The longer the nearly two-year-long trade war between the U.S. and China drags on, the stronger the Trump administration’s position gets, said Cramer.
“We have to walk away to get a real deal. That’s the only way to do it. We have to walk away. Because I’ve got to tell you, I really don’t think China is doing well economically. We are,” the “Mad Money” host said.
Both sides are looking to mid-December as the next deadline for billions of dollars of new U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, which have eluded the earlier rounds of levies. Many American companies, including Apple, have been lobbying the Trump administration for exclusions.
On Saturday, ahead of Hong Kong elections, U.S. national security advisor Robert O’Brien said the U.S. wants a phase one trade deal with China, but the Trump administration is “not going to turn a blind eye” to the plight of protesters in Hong Kong and allow China to keep eroding freedoms there. Pro-democracy candidates won big in Sunday voting in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory.
Last week, the U.S. House and Senate passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Trump still has not said whether he’ll sign the bill, which aims to protect anti-government protesters in Hong Kong from heavy-handed Chinese interference. Specially, the measure mandates sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and requires an annual review of the favorable trade status that Hong Kong is granted by Washington.
Hong Kong held on to its advantageous trading status with the U.S., even after the handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997, in recognition of Beijing’s pledge to allow Hong Kong to retain its own laws, judiciary and freedoms. In the past six months since the demonstrations started, there’s been growing concern that China might go back on its promise and exert power over Hong Kong.
— Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
CNBC’s before the bell news roundup
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