MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is releasing his policy plan to protect American workers and businesses from China’s destructive currency manipulation and financial policies.
The move hints he’s planning to come out guns-a-blazing on trade policies at the Fox Business Network debate here in Milwaukee on Tuesday evening.
The hallmark of the plan is a tough guy approach only Trump can pull off with regard to dealing with China. Titled, “Reforming The U.S.-China Trade Relationship To Make America Great Again,” the plan opens with an explanation of what Trump says caused America to start getting beat by China on the world stage in trade policy.
Under a section that details how “Washington Politicians Let China Off The Hook,” Trump puts much of the blame of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill Clinton and actions he took at the end of his administration.
“In January 2000, President Bill Clinton boldly promised China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization (WTO) ‘is a good deal for America. Our products will gain better access to China’s market, and every sector from agriculture, to telecommunications, to automobiles. But China gains no new market access to the United States,’” Trump writes.
None of what President Clinton promised came true. Since China joined the WTO, Americans have witnessed the closure of more than 50,000 factories and the loss of tens of millions of jobs. It was not a good deal for America then and it’s a bad deal now. It is a typical example of how politicians in Washington have failed our country.
Trump said that the thing Americans need most in dealing with China on trade is “leadership” in negotiations—leadership that’s been sorely lacking for the last couple decades.
“The most important component of our China policy is leadership and strength at the negotiating table,” Trump writes.
We have been too afraid to protect and advance American interests and to challenge China to live up to its obligations. We need smart negotiators who will serve the interests of American workers – not Wall Street insiders that want to move U.S. manufacturing and investment offshore.
Trump says that under his administration if he’s elected, “trade will flourish” because he will ensure that free trade is also “fair trade.”
“Our goal is not protectionism but accountability,” Trump writes.
America fully opened its markets to China but China has not reciprocated. Its Great Wall of Protectionism uses unlawful tariff and non-tariff barriers to keep American companies out of China and to tilt the playing field in their favor. If you give American workers a level playing field, they will win. At its heart, this plan is a negotiating strategy to bring fairness to our trade with China.
The results will be huge for American businesses and workers. Jobs and factories will stop moving offshore and instead stay here at home. The economy will boom. The steps outlined in this plan will make that a reality. When Donald J. Trump is president, China will be on notice that America is back in the global leadership business and that their days of currency manipulation and cheating are over. We will cut a better deal with China that helps American businesses and workers compete.
Then, before getting into the details of his trade plan policies, Trump lays out four specific goals he is seeking to achieve on behalf of Americans.
First, he wants to “bring China to the bargaining table by immediately declaring it a currency manipulator.”
Second, he wants to “protect American ingenuity and investment by forcing China to uphold intellectual property laws and stop their unfair and unlawful practice of forcing U.S. companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market.”
Third, Trump wants to “reclaim millions of American jobs” and revive “American manufacturing by putting an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards.” Trump says there will be “no more sweatshops or pollution havens stealing jobs from American workers.”
And fourth, Trump aims to “strengthen our negotiating position by lowering our corporate tax rate to keep American companies and jobs here at home, attacking our debt and deficit so China cannot use financial blackmail against us, and bolstering the U.S. military presence in the East and South China Seas to discourage Chinese adventurism.”
From there, Trump gets in the details of his plan. He lays out how on “day one” of his presidency, he’d “designate China as a currency manipulator.”
“We need a president who will not succumb to the financial blackmail of a Communist dictatorship. President Obama’s Treasury Department has repeatedly refused to brand China a currency manipulator – a move that would force China to stop these unfair practices or face tough countervailing duties that level the playing field,” Trump writes.
Economists estimate the Chinese yuan is undervalued by anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent. This grossly undervalued yuan gives Chinese exporters a huge advantage while imposing the equivalent of a heavy tariff on U.S. exports to China. Such currency manipulation, in concert with China’s other unfair practices, has resulted in chronic U.S. trade deficits, a severe weakening of the U.S. manufacturing base and the loss of tens of millions of American jobs.
Trump says there will be a “zero tolerance” policy for intellectual property theft by Chinese interests.
“China’s ongoing theft of intellectual property may be the greatest transfer of wealth in history,” Trump says.
This theft costs the U.S. over $300 billion and millions of jobs each year. China’s government ignores this rampant cybercrime and, in other cases, actively encourages or even sponsors it –without any real consequences. China’s cyber lawlessness threatens our prosperity, privacy and national security. We will enforce stronger protections against Chinese hackers and counterfeit goods and our responses to Chinese theft will be swift, robust, and unequivocal.
Trump would also end China’s “illegal export subsidies” that he says “intentionally distorts international trade and damages other countries’ exports by giving Chinese companies an unfair advantage.”
Because of these actions by China, companies and workers across America are hurt financially. “From textile and steel mills in the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast’s shrimp and fish industries to the Midwest manufacturing belt and California’s agribusiness, China’s disregard for WTO rules hurt every corner of America,” Trump writes.
Trump has been the most anti-Obamatrade candidate in the entire 2016 presidential field. In an interview on Monday, Trump told Breitbart News that he thinks Obamatrade’s Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is “insanity.”
Trade policy is right in Trump’s wheelhouse as an international businessman, offering him an opportunity to draw sharp contrasts with fellow outsiders like Dr. Ben Carson—who has signaled he is open to the TPP deal—and with career politicians like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who many times this year said he supported TPP specifically before his staff said late last week that he wasn’t yet decided.
The topic of trade–specifically TPP–hasn’t come up in the previous three GOP debates, but it’s almost certain to here in Milwaukee on Tuesday.