The Pierre Hotel
New York, New York
11:46 A.M. EDT
Q — the President at some point says that, I — yes, China is hurting. He knows he’s hurting China, so then that’s almost admitting that you’re hurting global growth. Or you know you’re admitting —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, when it comes to China, it’s a whole different ballgame. We were on $500 billion trade deficits with China, and we estimate that we lose almost as much in intellectually property theft every single year. I mean, what the President is doing with China is defending the American economy, defending America’s interests. And the strong stand that he’s taken, we believe, is having an impact on China’s economy. There’s no question about it.
And — but, that being said, discussions are ongoing. You know, deputies are in town, I’m told, next week. Principals will be meeting again with Secretary Mnuchin, and the U.S. Trade Representative with Chinese officials next month. And we’re talking.
But the era of economic surrender is over. And for too long, one administration after another — Republican and Democrat administrations — were willing to accept extraordinary disadvantages to American workers and American jobs in the name of trade with China. And those days are over.
I mean, it — and we’re going to continue to stand strong. I mean, the President has a great relationship with President Xi. I’ve had discussions with President Xi where I’ve confirmed that. I’ve sensed that same rapport that they have.
But the American people can be confident President Trump is going to continue to stand strong not just to reset the trading relationship to have China open their markets to the United States, but also to have China finally embrace the international rules of commerce, to protect intellectual property, end forced technology transfer — all the things that have been working against America’s interests, and, frankly, the interests of economies around the world.
But we remain hopeful, but —
Q That’s a lot of stuff.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: You know, the question now is whether or not China wants to do a deal. I think — I think we have a sense that China wants to do a deal, we just don’t know if they want to do it yet. So they’re — they’ll be here; we’ll be talking. We’ll be exploring it.
But I promise you, President Trump and our negotiations with China, with Japan, with the European Union, with the UK, once they complete Brexit — it’s all going to put American jobs and American workers first.
Q What’s the best we can hope for though? You were tough in a speech. You said that China has “an arsenal of policies inconsistent with free and fair trade — tariffs…quotas, currency manipulation, forced tech transfer, [IP] theft… industrial subsidies” handed out like candy. We’re going to fix all this? Is it possible we get anywhere on all those things?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I’ve been in the Oval Office where the President has made it very, very clear to Chinese officials at the very highest level of these negotiations that the structural issues are central.
For China — hey, look, we’ve — we supported China joining the World Trade Organization and the belief was that by letting them into the World Trade Organization, that we would — we would see China move away from these kind of economic practices.
And, frankly, we also hoped that we would see them embrace more of the liberties that we cherish. That — where you have a flourishing free enterprise economy around the world, through the history of the world, invariably you see individual rights grow.
And the truth of the matter is, China has not been willing to embrace the international rules of commerce. In fact, they’ve abused the rules of commerce to their advantage and taken advantage of America and other economies for far too long. And also, the truth is, frankly, they’ve gone, in many ways, in the opposite direction on the issue of liberties —
Q Okay. USMCA —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: — and their conduct.
And so, the President has taken a strong stand. And it’s — and honestly, Joe, it’s quite in contrast with the people that are seeking the Democrat nomination for President. I heard where my predecessor, Joe Biden, did an interview where he scoffed at the idea that China was a competitor. And it’s really remarkable. But that’s what got us where we are today with China.
And President Trump see clearly that China has been taking advantage of its position in the World Trade Organization for far too long. We’re going to take a strong stand and we’re going to continue — I promise you this President is going to continue to stand firm until either China decides to embrace the kind of reforms that will respect those international rules and reset our trade relationship, or, as the President said, we believe we’re in a very strong position and we’ll continue to use access to the most powerful economy in the world to protect American jobs and American workers.
Source: The White House