Chinese President Xi Jinping tamped down fears of a trade war between China and the United States by promising to “significantly lower” tariffs on auto imports this year and to crack down on intellectual-property theft — two major complaints President Trump has repeated since taking office.
“We will take the initiative to expand imports,” Xi said at the Boao Forum for Asia (via China Plus). “China does not seek a trade surplus. We have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve greater balance of international payments under the current account.”
While President Xi made no direct mention of Trump, his conciliatory tone came amid escalating tensions between the world’s two biggest economies. While mainstream media in the United States have been breathlessly hyping a “TRADE WAR!” in an effort to undermine Trump’s tough talk, the billionaire’s muscular stance toward China seems to be working.
“In today’s world, the trend of peace and cooperation is moving forward and the Cold War mentality and zero-sum-game thinking are outdated,” President Xi said, suggesting China has no desire to escalate tensions or get into a trade war with the world’s foremost superpower.
“The speech is more conciliatory than it is pugilistic with respect to how their approach to the U.S. is,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy for Mizuho Bank in Singapore, told Reuters.
President Trump has repeatedly called China out for the massive trade surplus it has enjoyed for decades. The United States has similarly lopsided trade imbalances with other countries, including Mexico.
Trump said he merely wants a fair trading agreement, and not one that benefits one country over another. For some reason, the mainstream media has taken the desire for “fair trade” to mean Trump is an isolationist and a racist.
“The United States hasn’t had a trade surplus with China in 40 years,” Trump tweeted. “The U.S. is losing $500 billion a year, and has been losing billions of dollars for decades. Cannot continue!”
The United States hasn’t had a Trade Surplus with China in 40 years. They must end unfair trade, take down barriers and charge only Reciprocal Tariffs. The U.S. is losing $500 Billion a year, and has been losing Billions of Dollars for decades. Cannot continue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2018
Amidst his harsh criticism, President Trump reiterated his respect for President Xi, saying they “will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade.”
President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade. China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
However, Trump warned that China cannot continue to impose tariffs on U.S. imports without getting slapped back in return when it tries to dump its goods in America.
When a car is sent to the United States from China, there is a Tariff to be paid of 2 1/2%. When a car is sent to China from the United States, there is a Tariff to be paid of 25%. Does that sound like free or fair trade. No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE – going on for years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2018
While the Trump-hating media have insisted the president is making enemies with his tough talk, the fact is: our international peers are responding. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has expressed interest in denuclearizing his hermit kingdom.
This is an unprecedented win for Trump’s brand of brash diplomacy. Even though nothing has been finalized on paper yet, it is still a rhetorical win when you compare it to the years of saber-rattling North Korea’s Kim regime has done while thumbing its nose at former presidents like Obama.
— COVFEFE THE NATIONALIST KIDD (@ronnierockstar) November 10, 2017
Similarly, despite overblown media fears that Trump is antagonizing China, he was treated like a king when he visited in November 2017. Trump is the first foreign leader in history to dine in China’s Forbidden City. That is an honor no U.S. president has ever received.
China literally rolled out the red carpet for President Trump — a stark contrast to the humble, sad welcome Barack Obama got when he was president.
Remember when China ignored Obama & made him exit his plane through the back, ignored. And Trump was Greatly Honored & given tour/Dinner in Forbidden City- 1st time in History! pic.twitter.com/ZmlR9D7TlL
— Duane_BJ (@duane_bj) February 14, 2018
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