January 29, 2019 / 1:25 PM / 3 months ago

Mnuchin says Huawei case 'separate' from U.S.-China trade talks

FILE PHOTO - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks during a TV interview at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Tuesday he expected to see significant progress in trade talks with Chinese officials this week and that U.S. charges against telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd were a separate issue.

“Those are separate issues, and that’s a separate dialogue,” Mnuchin said in an interview with Fox Business Network. “So those are not part of trade discussions. Forced technology issues are part of trade discussions, but any issues as it relates to violations of U.S. law or U.S. sanctions are going through a separate track.”

China’s Vice Premier Liu He is leading a delegation for high-level trade and economic talks in Washington this week, including a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Monday, the United States announced criminal charges against Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou and the Chinese technology firm. But Mnuchin said he did not expect the issue to be part of the economic talks.

Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested in Canada in December and is fighting extradition to the United States.

Mnuchin said the U.S. security concerns raised by the Huawei case were separate from the conversation on trade and forced technology.

“There are two different issues. One is an issue of state subsidies” regarding Beijing’s subsidies, he said. The other, he added, was a national security issue focused on U.S. infrastructure and cybersecurity.

“These are separate issues and shouldn’t be confused,” Mnuchin said.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Editing by Paul Simao

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