Trump is right on this one. MOU’s are contracts in the sense that there are two or more parties that sign something but there are usually no big commitments in them. I personally do not like MOU’s as they are delay tactics used by one party or the other. If I develop a project and the other side MUST absolutely have an MOU without a good reason for having it, I know that they play for time and the project does not get anywhere. Trump knows that – he needs results. China has good reason to play for time as they hope the pain in the US gets harder to swallow. I would not give a nickel for an MOU. Lighthizer – on the other side – needs to show that he is worth his salary. He sure likes the MOU.
An exasperated Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, tried to gently educate his boss, Donald Trump, on the meaning of a “memorandum of understanding” in the Oval Office on Friday, leading to a presidential lecture in front of television cameras and a top Chinese official.