China’s ‘theft’ of US jobs and wealth must ‘come to an end’: Trump
US president Donald Trump said in his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday that his country’s aggressive trade negotiations with China would mean an end to Beijing’s alleged “theft” of American jobs and wealth.
“We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end,” Trump said.
The world’s two largest economies have 24 more days in a three-month truce in their trade war before US duty rates are due to rise sharply, which economists say could be a powerful negative shock to the global economy.
Top US and Chinese officials last week proclaimed progress and comity after two days of talks in Washington, but they disclosed few details.
Washington and Beijing have slapped punishing tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, which has weighed on the two countries’ manufacturing sectors and sent jitters through global markets.
The US trade deficit has swelled more than 18% since Trump took office, rising far faster than economic growth, and has hit record heights with China in particular.
The president also renewed his often-repeated falsehood that China was paying the US import duties on its exports.
“Our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime,” Trump said.
“I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs,” he also said.
Such duties, in fact, are paid by US importers, with costs in many cases passed on to consumers.
Trump also lauded signs of US economic strength, including robust job creation and falling unemployment.
“We are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world,” Trump said. “Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in over half a century.”
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicts the US economy will slow this year and the year after that as the effects of 2017’s sweeping tax overhaul fade.
(With inputs from AFP)