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Sat May 25, 2019, 12:44 PM

Trump's Point Man on China Trade Still Trying to Close the Deal

WASHINGTON — As senior officials from the U.S. and China gathered in the Oval Office in February, President Trump had a simple message for his top negotiator, Robert Lighthizer: Close the deal.

“Mr. Lighthizer has done a great job,” Mr. Trump told the negotiating teams, as reporters looked on. “But it’s only a great job, Bob, if you get it finished, right?”

Three months later, the U.S.-China trade deal remains far from finished. Talks broke down this month as Beijing resisted U.S. demands that China change its laws to cement the accord, which Beijing saw as an assault on its sovereignty.

The impasse, after indications that a deal was in sight, reflects the Trump administration’s determination that any deal should focus on long-term changes in Chinese economic and business rules. To trade lawyers and others following the talks, Mr. Lighthizer’s fingerprints are plainly visible.


If he's as skilled as his boss he's not closing anything.


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