Congressman Kevin Brady affirmed President Donald Trump’s aim to reverse China’s unfair trade practices Tuesday.
“China has been cheating for far too long,” the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee told Fox Business. “They are an important ally, no doubt about that; and an important economic partner, no question about that. But too much of their economy and their models are based upon cheating.”
“President Trump has called their hand on it, as every President wishes they would have,” said Brady. “And the challenge is, of course, getting China to change their misbehavior – that’s not easily done.”
The congressman called current trade talks between the U.S. and China “constructive.”
U.S. trade officials are in China this week for ongoing trade talks with their Chinese counterparts in Beijing. An advance team began talks Monday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin will be in Beijing for the trade talks on Thursday and Friday.
“It seems to me like they’ve broadened the discussions to a whole range of structural issues – that hasn’t happened in a decade or more,” said Brady. “The talks are, I think, making progress in the scope of what they’re discussing.”
“We don’t have an outcome yet, I don’t expect it to be overnight,” he clarified. “But I do know this: President Trump is engaged with President Xi, and whether they meet or not here in the next few weeks, I think the conversations between those two leaders are occurring and are critically important.”
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the G20 in Argentina on December 1, where the two agreed to a 90 day tariffs truce during which the two sides would hold focused negotiations on trade. Previous attempts to negotiate a trade agreement have stalled and led to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods as well as Chinese retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods. December’s meeting between the two leaders also led to Xi’s commitment to resume an increased level of purchases of U.S. commodities that dipped after the Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods.
China’s economy has seen a slowdown, hitting the lowest growth rate in the third quarter of 2018 since 2009. As trade negotiations failed to produce a deal in 2018, President Trump told Breitbart News that China wasn’t doing well and he didn’t think they were ready to negotiate yet. He added that China did want a deal.