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Chinese Official Laughs In Televised Fight Between Trump And His Trade Chief Over Terminology

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Chinese Official Laughs In Televised Fight Between Trump And His Trade Chief Over Terminology





President Trump contradicted his U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer during a televised Oval Office meeting on Friday as he attempted to explain the meaning of a “memorandum of understanding,” or MOU, leading to a top Chinese official laughing out loud during the tense exchange.

The president, Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were among those in attendance for the discussion with a Chinese trade delegation about how long memorandums of understanding would last in a trade deal.

The Hill notes that MOUs have been drafted on issues such as agriculture, currency and intellectual property as a broader agreement is hashed out.



Trump told reporters they would “be very short term. I don’t like MOUs because they don’t mean anything. To me, they don’t mean anything.”

“An MOU is a binding agreement between two people,” Lighthizer responded. “It’s detailed. It covers everything in great detail. It’s a legal term. It’s a contract.”

“By the way I disagree,” Trump fired back. “We’re doing a memorandum of understanding that will be put into a final contract, I assume. But to me, the final contract is really the thing Bob, and I think you mean that too, is really the thing that means something. A memorandum of understanding is exactly that, it’s a memorandum of what our understanding is.”

“The real question is, Bob … how long will it take to put that into a final binding contract?”

“From now on, we’re not using the word ‘memorandum of understanding’ anymore,” Lighthizer said. “We’re going to use the term ‘trade agreement’ … We’re never going to use MOU again.”





Chinese Vice Premier Liu He laughed as the exchange carried on.





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