In Washington, with the revival of talks between Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and a bipartisan coalition of Democratic and Republican senators on a $908 billion stimulus package that appears to be able to reach an agreement, maybe before the Christmas holidays, the prospects of a new budget funding agreement took a major move forward last week.
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On the Democratic side, President-elect Joe Biden, as well as Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, endorsed the proposal. Pelosi was upbeat on Friday, telling reporters she had seen a “positive momentum” in favor of a bipartisan deal.
The proposal was also endorsed on the Republican side, and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who had previously advocated a $500 billion minimalist plan, might also join in. McConnell met with Republican senators involved in the creation of the bipartisan initiative, according to CNBC, and thought that optimistic signs of a potential solution were present. The political website ‘The Hill’ claims, for its part, that Donald Trump would have judged at an event in the Oval Office that a deal would be very close and that he would support the possible deal.’
Financial markets, on the other hand, did not pay much attention to the latest signs of revived Sino-U.S. trade tensions. Four major Chinese companies, including the oil giant CNOOC, have been added by the U.S. Department of Defense to its blacklist of Pentagon-identified Chinese firms linked to or controlled by the Chinese military. The move could further hurt Washington-Beijing relations, a month and a half before the U.S. President-elect Joe Biden inauguration on January 20.
In addition to CNOOC, the list also included chip manufacturer SMIC, as well as China Construction Technology and China International Engineering Consultancy, taking the number of Chinese companies now ‘blacklisted’ to 35. U.S. investors will be prohibited from purchasing stocks of these firms from January 11, according to an executive order signed on November 12 by Donald Trump. However, investors will have to sell the stocks they have kept before January 11, 2021 until November 11, 2021.
On Friday, CNOOC said it was “shocked and saddened” to learn of the decision, which it said was based on “false and incorrect facts.” About 16.5 percent of the capital of CNOOC’s Hong Kong-listed subsidiary is owned by U.S. shareholders.