President Donald Trump confirmed on Sunday that china had “already begun” buying large quantities of U.S. agricultural products only two days after he announced a partial but only verbal trade deal with China.
On Friday, he alleged China’s agricultural purchases will eventually amount to $40 billion to $50 billion. Also on Friday, he said he had reached a “substantial phase-one deal” with China that will take three to five weeks to negotiate.
Despite announcing this time frame, Trump on Sunday flat-out asserted China had already begun making purchases of U.S. agricultural products even before terms of the deal were even discussed. Trump gave no data to support his assertion China has actually inked contracts to buy U.S. agri products.
Trump added to his claims by tweeting, “My deal with China is that they will IMMEDIATELY start buying very large quantities of our Agricultural Product, not wait until the deal is signed over the next 3 or 4 weeks.”
China has so far refused to comment on Trump’s claims, a tactic it adopted in late August after initial reports came out Trump had claimed Beijing had phoned him twice because they were eager to make a trade deal.
A few days later, China confirmed it had made no such phone calls to Trump. Some Wall Street analysts noted Trump’s claims was tantamount to market manipulation that would have gotten anyone else prosecuted.
One of those who slammed Trump for this claim was George Conway, a fierce Trump critic and husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne.
A noted lawyer, Conway accused Trump of illegally manipulating financial markets with his untruth that there were “numerous” calls from “high-level” chinese officials to the U.S. during the last weekend of August as trade talks were attempting to restart.
Conway was reacting to numerous reports the calls never occurred and Trump invented the claim. China later said the calls never took place.
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said after Trump’s announcement that he was “not aware” of any such calls.
Conway asserted this “market manipulation” constitutes “criminal violations” of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
“What this describes is, quite literally, market manipulation that constitutes criminal violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,” tweeted Conway.
Market manipulation occurs when “someone artificially affects the supply or demand for a security (for example, causing stock prices to rise or to fall dramatically),” according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
It can involve a “number of techniques to affect the supply of, or demand for, a stock,” including “spreading false or misleading information.”