Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Says Huawei Arrest Has Nothing to Do with Trade

December 13, 2018

By Justin Chermol and Carlo Versano

The arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was an "enforcement action, not a trade-related action," according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Ross told Cheddar's Megan Pratz that the arrest of Meng in Vancouver was a response to her flouting of sanctions ー and not a retaliatory strike or warning shot against a major Chinese telecom corporation. Asked by Cheddar whether Meng's charges would affect trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, he replied: "Doesn't seem to have so far."

When asked by Cheddar if China also viewed Meng's arrest as an enforcement action, Ross said: "So far, they've said that."

The arrest of the Huawei CFO occurred on December 1, the same day President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day trade truce on tariffs. Since then, the arrest has thrown a wrench into the delicate negotiations between the two world superpowers.

While Ross said the arrest should not affect trade negotiations, Trump has suggested otherwise.

In an interview with Reuters, Trump said he would consider intervening with the U.S. Justice Department to influence the case if he thought it would help talks with China. "If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made ... what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene," he said.