Trump Hasn't Decided to Intervene in Huawei Case, Ross Says

(Bloomberg) -- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cautioned against assuming Donald Trump will stop the extradition of a Huawei Technologies Inc. executive arrested in Canada, and said the president hasn’t yet decided to intervene in a case that’s roiled trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

“Let’s see what he actually decides,” Ross told reporters at the White House. “Let’s see where we go from there. This is a matter that’s in litigation right now.”

Trump said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that he would intervene in the U.S. effort to extradite Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou if it would help him win a trade deal with China.

“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made, which is a very important thing -- what’s good for national security -- I would certainly intervene, if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said in the interview.

Ross said Meng’s arrest earlier this month was “an enforcement action, not a trade-related action,” and that the Chinese have approached the situation that way.

“So far,” he said. “They’ve said that.”

U.S. authorities allege Meng conspired to defraud banks to unwittingly violate U.S. sanctions by clearing transactions linked to Iran. On Tuesday she was granted a $7.5 million bail by a Canadian court, allowing her to return to her Vancouver home while extradition proceedings continue.

Ross noted that Trump lifted a crippling ban on U.S. business dealings by Chinese telecom maker ZTE Corp. after a personal appeal from China’s president, Xi Jinping, but indicated that may not happen again.

“Last time President Xi called him and asked him to do it as a personal favor,” Ross said. “He made that very clear. That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a precedent for all time.”

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