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Macro Macchiato 25/02/19: Memorandum of Misunderstanding

The soap opera that is China-US trade negotiations presented an enjoyable sub-plot over the weekend as US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and President Trump discussed the legal status of a Memorandum of Understanding. Mr Lighthizer has been preparing one as part of leading the discussions, but on live TV and in front of Chinese delegates, Mr Trump questioned the utility of an MOU preferring to go straight to a contract: “I don't like MOUs because they don't mean anything. To me they don't mean anything.” Mr Lighthizer fell into line immediately: “from now on we're not using the word Memorandum of Understanding anymore. We're going to use the term trade agreement, all right?” Having c

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