Trump Signs Presidential Memorandum Targeting Chinese Trade Practices

By Melanie Arter | March 22, 2018 | 6:23pm EDT

( - Citing China’s unfair trade practices, President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a presidential memorandum targeting China’s “economic aggression.”

The decision “has been long in the making,” Trump said.


“You’ve heard many speeches by me and talks by me and interviews where I talk about unfair trade practices. We’ve lost over a fairly short period of time 60,000 factories in our country - closed, shuttered, gone - 6 million jobs at least gone, and now they’re starting to come back,” he said.

Although he considers Chinese President Xi JinPing a friend, who he has “tremendous respect for,” Trump said China has a trade deficit with the U.S. around $500 billion - “the largest deficit of any country in the history of the world.”

“We have a tremendous intellectual property theft situation going on, which likewise is hundreds of billions of dollars, and that’s on a yearly basis. I’ve spoken to the president. I’ve spoken to representatives of China. We’ve been dealing with it very seriously,” he said. “As you know, we’re renegotiating NAFTA. We’ll see how that turns out.”

Trump said many countries have been trying to negotiate better trade deals with the U.S. to avoid paying the steel and aluminum tariffs. The administration has also begun negotiations with the European Union.

“We are just starting a negotiation with the European Union, because they really shut out our country to a large extent. They have barriers that they can trade with us, but we can’t trade with them. They’re very strong barriers. They’re very high tariffs. It’s just not fair,” the president said.

“NAFTA’s been a very bad deal for the United States, but we’ll make it better or we’ll have to do something else. The deal we have with South Korea’s a very one-sided deal. It’s a deal that has to be changed, so we have a lot of things happening, but in particular with China, we’re going to be doing a Section 301 Trade Action. It could be about $60 billion,” he said.

“But that’s really just a fraction of what we’re talking about. I’ve been speaking with the highest Chinese representatives, including the president, and I’ve asked them to reduce the trade deficit immediately by $100 billion. It’s a lot. So that would be anywhere from 25 percent - depending on the way you figure - to maybe something even more than that, but we have to do that,” Trump said.

The president called for reciprocal trade with China.

“The word that I want to use is reciprocal. When they charge 25 percent for a car to go in, and we charge two percent for their car to come into the United States, that’s not good. That’s how China rebuilt itself,” he said.

Trump said his administration is in talks with the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, China, and the EU.

“And I will say every single one of them wants to negotiate, and I believe that in many cases - maybe all cases - we’ll end up negotiating a deal. So we’ve spoken to China, and we’re in the midst of a very large negotiation. We’ll see where it takes us, but in the meantime, we’re sending a Section 301 Action. I’ll be signing it right here, right now,” he said.

“We’ve had this abuse by many other countries and groups of countries that were put together in order to take advantage of the United States, and we don’t want that to happen. We’re not going to let that happen. It’s probably one of the reasons I was elected, maybe one of the main reasons, but we’re not going to let that happen,” Trump said.

“We have right now an $800 billion trade deficit with the world, so think of that. So let’s say we have $500 to $375, but let’s say we have $500 with China, but we have $800 total with the world. That would mean that China is more than half, so we’re going to get it taken care of, and frankly, it’s going to make us a much stronger, much richer nation,” the president said.

“The word is reciprocal. That’s the word I want everyone to remember. We want reciprocal - mirror. Some people call it a mirror tariff or a mirror tax. Just use the word reciprocal,” he said. “If they charge us, we charge them the same thing. That’s the way it’s gotta be. That’s not the way it is.

“For many, many years, for many decades it has not been that way, and I will say the people we’re negotiating with smilingly they really agree with us. I really believe they cannot believe they’ve gotten with this for so long,” the president said.

“I’ll talk to Prime Minister Abe of Japan and others - great guy, friend of mine - and there’ll be a little smile on their face, and the smile is ‘I can’t believe we’ve been able to take advantage of the United States for so long.’ So those days are over,” Trump said.


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