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“Before my election, Washington politicians stood by and did nothing while China ransacked our companies, stole our intellectual property, subsidized their industries at the expense of ours and dumped their products in a deliberate strategy to close American factories all across our land,” Trump said before declaring “the theft of American jobs and wealth is over.”
The president said the American market is the “most valuable and coveted market anywhere in the world” and that anyone who wants access must “play by the rules.”
China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, and since then Beijing’s trade surplus with the U.S. has swelled to more than $500 billion a year. Trump said that “nobody’s cheated better than China.”
The U.S. and China have been engaged in a 16-month-long trade war that has seen the two sides slap tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of one another’s goods. The trade war has caused China’s economic growth to slow to 6 percent, its weakest in 57 years.
Trump said China is paying for the tariffs by “devaluing their currency” and “pouring tremendous amounts of cash into their system.”
“Their supply chains are cracking very badly and they are dying to make a deal,” Trump said, adding that a phase one trade deal could “happen soon” so long as it's good for U.S. companies and workers.
China wasn’t the only trade partner that Trump took aim at. He called out the European Union for its “terrible” trade barriers, saying that the bloc is “in many ways worse than China.”
Trump also talked about how his administration is replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement, otherwise known as NAFTA, calling it “one of the worst trade deals ever,” with the brand new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The trade deal, according to the president, is “a historic win for American farmers, energy producers and manufacturers.” He said the deal is expected to add up to 500,000 jobs and 1.2 percentage points to GDP.
The president lashed out at Democrats, saying they would “rather pursue outrageous hoaxes and delusional witch hunts” than “pass the USMCA and deliver real stuff for the American workers.” The USMCA has been held up as Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t yet put it up for a vote on the House floor. Mexico has already ratified the deal, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said his government would act on the matter after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the measure.
“We want thriving commerce with as many countries as possible, but trade must be fair,” Trump said, adding that “America will not be taken advantage of anymore.”