Trump’s Representative Vows Tough Action Against China’s Trade Policies
President Donald Trump's pick as U.S. trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, has vowed to go tough on China's alleged unfair trade practices as calls to launch a trade war against the world's second largest economy intensifies within the Republican administration.
Speaking at a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Lighthizer said that President Trump might use a "multi-faceted approach" to reprimand Beijing for its alleged trade practices. "I believe [Mr. Trump] is going to change the paradigm on China and, if you look at our problems, China is right up there," he told U.S. senators.
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Lighthizer stressed that there is a need to look beyond the World Trade Organization (WTO) WHICH he called on to "create some new tools" to deal with the China problem. He claimed that it is beyond the capacities of the WTO to cope with the aggressive industrial policies pursued by Beijing.
Asked if China is engaged in manipulating its currency, the trade representative claimed that as per his personal judgment, the Asian giant was a rampant currency manipulator in the past. "Whether China is manipulating the currency right now is another question. That's up to the Treasury secretary," he said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese leadership is apparently making efforts to convince the U.S. that a trade war is not in the interest of both economies. China's Premier Li Keqiang unequivocally said on Wednesday that his country does not want to see any trade war breaking out with the U.S. as he urged both countries to hold talks to find common ground.
Li's comment was preceded by a warning last week by China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan that a trade war will prove painful for both economies. He warned that U.S. exporters would stand to lose more in the event of a trade war with Beijing.
Talks about a trade war with China have been gaining momentum since Trump won the U.S. presidential election last year. The outspoken Republican leader fired several salvos against China's controversial trade practices, labeling the second largest economy as a "currency manipulator" and questioned the Asian giant's "steel overproduction."