UPDATED 4:55 PM PT — Wednesday, November 13, 2019
As trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing continue, new reports said China was behind a recent cyber attack on a prominent U.S. manufacturing group. A cybersecurity firm reportedly determined the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) was breached by Chinese hackers over the summer.
“We recently identified suspicious activity relating to certain company systems, took swift action to secure our networks and quickly investigated the incident,” NAM spokeswoman Erin Sheeter said in a statement. “We have a number of robust security systems in place to defend and protect our networks.”
Sources said the number of cyber attacks on the company jumped around the same time President Trump met with NAM’s president. While officials know a data breach took place, they say it is not clear what data was stolen.
This comes as the U.S. and China attempt to solidify a trade deal. Last week, President Trump announced that talks with China were “moving along very nicely,” but added he will only make a deal if it is right for the U.S.
“I’d like to make a deal, but it’s got to be the right deal,” stated President Trump.
The president also said there had been false reports about how much the U.S. was ready to roll back tariffs on China.
“China very much wants to make a deal,…perhaps they have to make a deal — I don’t know,” he said. “But the reports were incorrect.”
The president’s comments came after Chinese officials and Washington negotiators agreed to remove additional duties on each other’s products. The move has been getting pushback from White House officials, who said removing tariffs could reduce America’s leverage in ongoing trade talks.
This follows the recent announcement that the Phase One trade deal was “nearly complete.” Beijing’s Commerce Ministry said the two countries reached “a consensus on principle” after Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Chinese officials by phone. White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said this phase will cover agriculture, financial services and currency protections. Forced technology transfers will reportedly be addressed in Phase Two.
The adviser went on to say the U.S. and China are planning to sign the deal after they locate a venue. This comes after Chile’s president cancelled November’s APEC Summit, which was where the leaders sought to sign the agreement. Kudlow said the two countries are still hoping to stick to the original timeline of mid-November.