The White House has insisted that there was no going back on its actions against China unless Beijing changes its practices of “unfair trade practices and theft of intellectual property”. This, despite the fact that the Dow plummeted 550 points yesterday amidst reports of a growing tension between the two largest economies of the world. US President Donald Trump yesterday ramped up his trade war rhetoric with China, seeking USD 100 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese products. This is in addition to the proposed 25 per cent import tariffs worth USD 50 billion on some 1,300 Chinese products being imported into the US.
China has vowed to take “comprehensive countermeasures” and fight “at any cost” Trump’s directive. “The president has said enough is enough. China has to change this illegal and unfair practice that they’ve been in. Previous administrations should have stepped up and tried to stop these actions long before today,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference yesterday. “But thankfully, we have a president that’s willing to actually stand up, be tough, and take some really courageous and bold action, like President Trump has done,” she said.
Responding to a question on the Dow in New York dropping by over 500 points, Sanders said, “We know that there could be some fluctuation”. Sanders said the Trump administration would like to negotiate. “(But) we want them to stop participating in unfair and illegal trade practices and intellectual property theft, being a huge detriment to US companies and businesses,” she said. Top Republican Senator John McCain said it was easy to punish China, but a lot harder to hold it truly accountable and change its behaviour. “That requires a real strategy and positive trade agenda, which is why the US should rejoin the TPP,” he said.
Congressman Don Bacon accused China of stealing the intellectual property and trade secrets of US companies, while dumping cheap products into the American market for too long. “I encourage the administration to sit down and find a solution to this tariff war with China that protects the US’ agricultural economy, promotes fair and free trade, and protects our intellectual property,” he said.
Senator Dianne Feinstein said California grows 100 percent of the almonds, walnuts and raisins exported to China. “President Trump’s trade war means all three products will now be subject to a 15 per cent tariff by China. The president must take steps to protect our agriculture industry from harm,” she said. Senator Chuck Grassley said China had ignored the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for too long and aggressively pursued practices that unfairly undermine American ownership, innovation and entrepreneurship. “China’s pursuit of agriculture technologies, from wind turbines to genetic seeds, and its 2013 buyout of pork giant Smithfield Foods, cannot be underestimated,” he said. “If dramatic changes in its trade policy regime aren’t made, China’s approach to seizing advantage in the marketplace will put US businesses at a competitive disadvantage, threatening the long-term prosperity, economic growth and job creation here at home,” he said.