Following Disappointing Meeting Between President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping, Schumer Demands Real Action From the Trump Administration on Trade With China

On The Campaign Trail, Then-Candidate Trump Talked Tough On China, But Now President Trump Is Softening On China Trade Issues That Hurt American Businesses And Cost Jobs Schumer Will Urge Administration To Put Money Where Its Mouth Is - Just Like President Promised, Admin Must Label China A Currency Manipulator, Leverage Duties Against Foreign Companies That Dump Cheap Products In US To Undermine Businesses, And Demand The Chinese Government Stop Aiding & Abetting Cyber Hackers That Steal Amer

April 11, 2017

Washington, D.C. – On a conference call with reporters, U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer today demanded real action from President Donald Trump and his administration on the issue of trade with China. Following the disappointing meeting between President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping, Schumer said that President Trump has not yet kept a single promise to the American people when it comes to China. During the campaign, then-candidate Trump vowed to label China a currency manipulator, leverage duties against companies that dump cheap products into the U.S. in order to undermine American businesses, and demand China’s government stop aiding and abetting cyber hackers and other entities in China that steal U.S. companies’ intellectual property. However, now-President Trump has yet to follow through on any of these campaign promises, and is backing off of his tough talk. Schumer said voters were promised meaningful action on China’s trade cheating and deserve just that, not another broken promise.

“When President Trump was elected, there was obviously a lot that divided him from Senate Democrats. But one area where we agreed with the President, and where we hoped we could work together, was China. For far too long, China has taken us to the cleaners when it comes to the economy. On the campaign trail, President Trump promised bold and swift action on China. This was a major reason why he was elected in the first place. But just as quickly as he came into office, the President backed off. President Trump had a golden opportunity to win serious concessions from President Xi during their meeting, particularly when it comes to the currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, and dumping of cheap goods that undermine American jobs – but he came up empty. The American people deserve more than just broken promises. I strongly urge the President to get tougher on China. If he does, he’ll find a willing and eager partner in Senate Democrats, who are ready to work with him on behalf of the American worker,” said Leader Schumer.

Last week, Senate Democrats sent the Trump administration a number of letters last week to highlight issues concerning trade ahead of his meeting with China’s President, Xi Jinping. However, it is clear these requests fell on deaf ears, as no major concessions or commitments were made during their meeting. Schumer called this disappointing and highlighted the need for real action on the issue of trade with China.  American workers deserve action on the following issues in particular if the U.S. is to rebalance its relationship with China:

Currency Manipulation: China’s government has a long history of undervaluing its currency to give its exports a competitive advantage to the detriment of U.S manufacturers. While no longer devaluing their currency, China’s government continues to actively manage the value of its currency, rather than move towards a market-determined exchange rate. The threat of China again devaluing their currency remains should economic conditions change.

Intellectual Property (IP) Theft: Entities in China continues to engage in state-backed IP theft. The theft of American IP in past decades is the “greatest transfer of wealth in human history,” as former NSA Chief General Keith Alexander put it. The transfer of our crown jewel technology and expertise to our foremost competitors in China weakens our capacity to innovate –our nation’s main competitive advantage. A recent report from the IP Commission, led by Jon Huntsman, former Ambassador to China and Admiral Blair, the former Director of National Intelligence placed the cost of IP theft to U.S. businesses at $225 billion to $600 billion a year. The report stated that “China does not just steal the most American IP of any country; it targets the sectors at the forefront of innovation that could create the best jobs for Americans in the 21st century.”

WTO Prohibited Subsidies: China’s overproduction of steel, aluminum, solar, cement and other commodities, generated by massive subsidies, continues to undercut U.S. producers. China’s aluminum production has increased from 11 percent, in 2000, to more than half of the world’s aluminum production today, resulting in a massive glut in global aluminum which has caused all but 5 U.S. aluminum smelters to close. Similarly, China’s steel production is up 530 percent from 2000 due to massive subsidies. Fifteen years after its due date, China's submitted its first subsidy notification to the World Trade Organization on sub-central entities. However, this report is incomplete, not commenting on any steel or aluminum programs, and over half of the programs reported appear to be contingent upon exportation and are therefore prohibited by the WTO Agreement on Subsidies.

Discriminatory Policies that Undermine U.S. Companies: China continues to put in place policies that discriminate against U.S. competition in favor of its domestic producers. This is especially true in China’s internet services and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors. China’s discriminatory regulations including data localization requirements, local content requirements, website blocking, limitations on foreign investment and forced technology transfer practices undermine U.S. companies’ ability to compete in China. China’s recent overreaching cybersecurity policies provide no protections to American IP and effectively bar some U.S. technology companies from doing business in China.

 

###