Trump Changes Position On Trade, Promises To Protect ZTE Electronics Jobs In China
Trump Vows To Protect Lost ZTE Jobs In China
According to The New York Times, Trump’s administration is asking in exchange for China to agree to purchase more American goods and relax its own limitations on U.S. agriculture.
Trump defended the decision Monday on Twitter:
ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies. This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2018
The position is notably different from the view Trump and his cabinet held just two weeks ago, when many of the president’s advisers seemed determined to impose scores of sanctions on China, whom Trump and other Republicans have denounced as a currency manipulator that also uses other unfair trade practices.
In March, Trump threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese imports including steel and aluminum.
ZTE employs around 75,000 people. The firm closed its main operations after the Commerce Department prohibited American companies from selling product components to CTE for seven years because its employees violated the terms of a deal for illegally shipping products made with U.S. parts to North Korea and Iran. ZTE reportedly failed to punish its employees for these trade restrictions violations.
According to the Times, top American officials told the Chinese that they wish to reduce the Asian nation’s trade surplus with the U.S. to $200 billion. U.S. Government officials also reportedly want China to cut their tariffs to the same level as American tariffs.
Legislators from both parties expressed concern over Trump administration officials’ recent negotiations with China.
Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said: “This leads to the greatest worry, which is that the president will back off on what China fears most — a crackdown on intellectual property theft — in exchange for buying some goods in the short run. That’s a bad deal if there ever was one.”
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also voiced fear of “backing down to China” in a tweet:
“I hope this isn’t the beginning of backing down to China,” Rubio wrote on Twitter on Monday. “While Chinese companies have unrestricted access to U.S. market & protection of our laws many U.S. companies have been ruined after #China blocked market access or stole their intellectual property.”