Schumer Floor Remarks On The Failures of President Trump’s Weak “Phase One” Agreement With China

January 14, 2020

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer spoke today on the Senate floor regarding the flaws in the reported “phase one” agreement between the Trump administration and China. He also warned that a weak agreement would undermine American farmers, workers, and businesses. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Tomorrow, the United States will complete a signing ceremony for the so-called “phase one” trade agreement with China. After eighteen months of negotiations, the phase-one deal is remarkable for how little it achieves at an enormous price.

President Trump has agreed to scale back some tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for temporary assurances that China will increase its purchase of US exports over the next few years, particularly in agriculture.

For all the effort and turmoil over the past few years, the deal that President Trump plans to sign tomorrow hardly seems to advance the United States past square one.

It fails to address the deep structural inequalities in the trade relationship between China and the United States. For the past decade, China has stolen American intellectual property through forced technology transfers of our companies and through outright cybertheft. The president’s “phase one” deal doesn’t appear to even address this issue.

China has routinely subsidized its most important domestic industries. Not just labor intensive industries, but even industries like Huawei are subsidized to gain unfair advantage over American companies. China has dumped goods illegally into our markets. It’s manipulated our currency to keep prices low. The president’s “phase one” deal does not appear to address any of these issues.

Not only does this deal fail to make any meaningful progress towards ending China’s most flagrant abuses, what it does achieve on the agricultural side may well be a day late and a dollar short. China has already made long-term contracts with other producers, of soybeans and other goods, in places like Argentina and Brazil. Americans farmers have already lost billions over the last two years, watched their markets disappear, and too many American farms have gone bankrupt in the time that it took President Trump to reach this deal.

Now, I have publicly praised the president when he’s been tough on China, at some political cost. I’ve said he’s had better instincts on China than previous administrations. Few politicians have been talking about securing real reforms to China’s economic policies longer than I have.

But I fear that with an election around the corner, the president is taking the easy way out—settling for a weak deal that will cost American businesses, American farmers, and American workers for years and years to come.