President Donald Trump isn’t messing around when it comes to securing a fair deal for American workers and businesses. When he signs a new trade agreement with China, it will be clear, comprehensive, and — most importantly — enforceable.
For over half a century, American presidents routinely ignored violations of trade agreements by other countries, allowing adversaries and allies alike to expand their economies at the expense of U.S. growth. Because many of them were developing nations, or were recovering from the devastation of World War II, benevolent American leaders allowed them to get stronger on the backs of American workers.
That might have made a certain amount of sense in the context of post-war rebuilding and Cold War containment strategy, but the approach became so ingrained over the years that we lost sight of the rationale for such self-sacrifice and simply allowed unfair trade arrangements to become the unquestioned norm.
Enter Donald Trump, champion of the hard-working American citizen. As a candidate, Trump promised to completely reorient American trade policy by ending the practice of unilateral concessions, and since taking office he has made incredible progress toward that goal.
His first duty was to expose the criminality of China’s trade practices and begin the arduous process of terminating that behavior. China has been taking advantage of the U.S. with impunity for years, but previous administrations feared confronting America’s largest trading partner, and even gave the communist country unreciprocated concessions out of a naive hope that it would induce Beijing to correct its behavior.
President Trump reversed that ineffective approach by imposing strategic counter-tariffs in response to China’s trade abuses, compelling our rival to finally come to the negotiating table.
But there were other abuses of world trade policy, even among our allies, and the president has made sure to address those, as well.
Perhaps his biggest victory thus far is the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that updates the outdated and unfair NAFTA deal, which was riddled with loopholes that put American workers and businesses at a disadvantage relative to our Mexican and Canadian counterparts.
In some cases, though, the Trump administration has been able to protect American interests simply by enforcing existing rules.
Last week, for instance, the World Trade Organization ruled that the European Union had violated WTO rules by heavily subsidizing its largest airline manufacturer, Airbus.
While the dispute had been going on for nearly 15 years, President Trump has made it a priority to finally resolve such long-standing trade abuses, and vowed to quickly take advantage of the decision allowing the U.S. to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion in goods from the EU to rectify the economic damage inflicted on American companies by the illegal subsidies Airbus received.
The WTO ruling serves as a stark reminder that it doesn’t make sense to have trade agreements if they’re not enforced. This is the real reason why the Trump administration has yet to sign a trade pact with China. Experience has proven that Beijing routinely violates treaties with other countries; just this month, Canada filed a WTO complaint against Chinese restrictions on canola seed imports — and the president is adamant that any eventual trade deal must include provisions allowing us to verify and ensure compliance.
President Trump won’t sign an unenforceable treaty merely for the sake of checking off a campaign promise or mollifying skittish Wall Street investors. A trade agreement with China will have to be mutually beneficial and enforceable.
This is precisely why Americans elected Trump. They know he’s a patriot who will do what’s right for Americans, which is something that confounds Democrats and the anti-Trump media. Critics are mystified by the president’s trade policy, repeatedly predicting that his strategic counter-tariffs would lead to economic calamity, only to be proven wrong time and again by the strong and growing Trump economy.
As a certain leader likes to say, “we’ll have to see what happens,” as the ongoing trade negotiations with China play out.
One thing that’s absolutely certain, though, is that President Trump will only accept a deal that genuinely benefits America.
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