Donald Trump Was Incredibly Weak on China
October 6, 2023
While Donald Trump tries to rewrite his weak record on China, here’s a reminder that he got taken to the cleaners when making his “phase one” trade deal, and he continues to praise Xi Jinping and the CCP to this day.
Trump’s “phase one” trade deal — which consisted of vague commitments that went unfulfilled by China, failed to address major structural issues, and included major concessions — was a disaster.
PIIE: “China bought none of the extra $200 billion of US exports in Trump’s trade deal”
Washington Post: “The China deal pales alongside the president’s original ambition. Trump initially insisted that he wanted a comprehensive agreement to address all of the Chinese trade practices identified in a March 2018 report that accused China of stealing American trade secrets and forcing U.S. companies to surrender their advanced technologies before gaining access to China’s market. But as negotiations dragged, the president agreed to accept a more limited deal, deferring haggling over China’s massive government subsidies to subsequent talks.”
New York Times: “The Treasury Department’s removal of [China’s designation as a currency manipulator] provided a major concession to China just days before it is set to sign a trade deal with the United States.”
Trump has repeatedly praised Xi Jinping and the CCP, including for their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and refrained from confronting the country on human rights abuses during his presidency.
MSNBC: “’Top of the line’: Trump praises ‘brilliant’ Xi, Kim Jong-Un, Putin”
Economic Times: “Donald Trump calls Chinese President Xi Jinping ‘brilliant man’ who rules with ‘iron fist’”
Associated Press: “U.S. President Donald Trump has tweeted his congratulations to China on 70 years of Communist Party rule. The U.S. leader wrote ‘Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!’”
Washington Post: “Though Trump came to office projecting a tougher edge on China, his pursuit of a bilateral trade deal — and his related unwillingness to personally criticize President Xi Jinping or forcefully confront Beijing on human rights — undercuts efforts within the administration to develop a comprehensive strategy.”
Politico: “The president [Trump] has remained determined to keep China’s human rights abuses from complicating his trade negotiations, going so far as to make a unilateral concession to Xi in the run-up to the G-20 Summit in June, according to three people briefed on the conversation.”
Trump In January 2020: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”
Trump wants to bring back his agenda that ceded the EV future to China while stymying the American electric vehicle industry.
Vox: “On one side of that battle: the Trump administration, a few US automakers, and Koch Industries, who would like to stymie or at least delay the electrification of vehicles and continue the use of fossil fuels.”
Politico: “The Trump administration is already trying to roll back strict fuel-efficiency rules that have helped encourage automakers to produce electric cars. Now the president, angry at General Motors for closing U.S. plants, is vowing to eliminate tax credits that have helped encourage consumers to buy electric cars.”
Wired: “In the Age of Trump, China Eyes Electric Car Dominance: Now that the Trump Administration is working to shred those environmentally-focused rules, the auto industry seems to be swinging its attention east.”