Action designed to address China’s approach has been well telegraphed by this administration. Last year at Mar-a-Lago, the president discussed the issue with President Xi. In August, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) initiated an investigation to catalog China’s practices, the injury that has been inflicted on our companies and workers, and the need for a response. After the president’s announcement of Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, China recognized that he was willing to follow through on his tough talk on trade. Since then, China has scrambled to say that it will act to stop the abuses.
That’s not good enough. It’s been 17 years since China joined the World Trade Organization. Since that time, they have failed to abide by many of the critical promises and commitments they made. Those violations are well documented. They have imposed a huge price on our people and led to a lack of confidence in our trade policies. Enforcement of basic norms is critical to ensuring that there is the support for an open trading system among our people and that the system advances, rather than undermines, their core interests and the interests of all nations who live by the rules.