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Statement From USTR and UST Spokesperson on behalf of Ambassador Lighthizer and Secretary Mnuchin

December 15, 2019

Washington, DC –  Bob Davis and Lingling Wei at the Wall Street Journal, based on anonymous sources, have reported at least three times this week that the United States negotiators offered to cut by as much as one half the tariff rates on approximately $360 billion of Chinese imports in exchange for certain purchases. 

While we do not comment on the content of negotiations, we have said publicly and on the record that this is totally false, untrue and baseless.  It did not happen. 

In addition and to be completely clear, we have personally, and on the record, told Mr. Davis and another Wall Street Journal reporter repeatedly that this is utterly false.  No such offer was ever made to China by the United States.  There is not a single knowledgeable American negotiator who would support this falsehood.  Further, there is no Chinese negotiator who could honestly be this source.

We will not speculate on why the Chinese or an American uninvolved with these negotiations would manipulate the story.  This is another example of reporting on an  important alleged event based on secret sources, some of which may have obvious bias. The Wall Street Journal should make very clear that those actually involved for the United States have so clearly indicated that they are untrue, fabricated falsehoods.  It should also expose possible biases of the anonymous source.