The White House defends trade policies as Trump seeks a new threat in China


"Year after year, China continues to distort global markets and to harm American businesses and consumers with unfair business practices," the press office said.

"The president is a free trader, but he must also be fair trade, addressing unfair trade practices and ensuring that world trade is free, fair and reciprocal will have a positive long-term impact on the US economy. . ", Said the statement.

But the approach has been criticized quickly and sharply by lawmakers on both sides, as well as industries whose businesses depend on access to China's markets.

Commercial conflict between the United States and China: how we got to this point

American companies want a level playing field with their Chinese counterparts. China wants to build its industries in sophisticated global competitors. This week, both countries demonstrated their willingness to escalate trade tensions to defend their positions.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, ​​a Democrat from North Dakota, called Mr. Trump's actions "imprudent" and said in a tweet that "60% of ND's exports to China are agricultural products." China's unfair trade policies must be controlled, but this is not the way to do it. "

Scaling up the potential of a trade war with China is imprudent and gambles with the livelihoods of American farmers and ranchers in the areas US exports 60% of ND exports to China are agricultural products, it is necessary to rein in China's unfair trade policies, but this is not the way to do it

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp)
April 6, 2018

In his statement Thursday, Mr. Trump said he had instructed the Secretary of Agriculture to implement a plan to protect farmers and agricultural interests. It is not clear what that plan could entail, but Chad Bown, a member of the Peterson Institute, said that if the president chooses to subsidize farmers, it could unleash broader conflict with countries beyond China, which would oppose unfair competition. of United States agriculture. .

White House business advisers described the tariff threats as a long-awaited action against a pernicious cheater in global trade, saying that China has always been pressured, coerced and openly stolen to gain access to valuable intellectual property. However, the growing threat of a trade war between the two largest economies in the world has enervated many US companies that depend on China for goods or as a market for their own products.

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World markets fell cautiously on Friday, after a volatile week in which markets sank due to the president's initial commercial threats, then recovered and his advisers said that the commercial movement was mainly a negotiation tool and that possibly it would not go into effect. [19659012] China was celebrating a national holiday on Friday and did not immediately announce any concrete action for the president's threat of an additional $ 100 billion in tariffs. A spokesman said that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce had "taken note" of the White House statement, adding that "the Chinese position has been made very clear, we do not want to fight, but we are not afraid to fight in a commercial war. "

If the United States met its threats, the Chinese "will follow their example to the end and will not hesitate to pay any price," he said, arguing that the United States initiated the conflict.

Meanwhile, trade measures triggered a rapid response from manufacturers, retailers and politicians in states whose economies depend on agriculture. Although China exports much more to the United States than it imports, China remains the third largest export market in the United States after Canada and Mexico, a vital destination for US products such as Boeing aircraft, luxury cars and soybeans.

Hopefully, the president is losing control again, but if he's half mad, this is crazy, "Sen. Ben Sbade, Republican of Nebraska, said on Thursday." Let's start with Chinese misbehavior, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us. This is the stupidest way to do this. "

The National Retail Federation criticized the new round of tariffs as a dangerous chicken game that ends in the United States on the losing side of a commercial relationship that has benefited companies and US consumers.

"This is what a commercial war looks like, and what we have warned from the beginning. We are in a dangerous downward spiral, and American families will be on the losing side, "said Matthew R. Shay, president and CEO of the retail group, in a statement." We urge the administration to change the course and stop playing a game. chicken game with the economy of the nation. "

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