WASHINGTON, D.C./BEIJING – United States President Donald Trump unloaded on a series of measures that would restrict the sale of American goods to China, saying national security is “no excuse for disrupting business”. Meanwhile, Chinese imports remain penalized.
“The United States cannot, and will not, become such a difficult place to deal with in terms of foreign countries buying our product,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, adding, “including for the always used National Security excuse,” RT reported.
“I have seen some of the regulations being circulated, including those being contemplated by Congress, and they are ridiculous. I want to make it EASY to do business with the United States, not difficult,” Trump said.
Though Trump did not identify the exact restrictions being proposed, his tweetstorm came two days after Reuters reported that his administration is planning on blocking General Electric from supplying engines for a new Chinese passenger jet — the Comac C919.
Anonymous sources said US officials “fear that China could reverse engineer the GE engines”, as well as flight control systems supplied to Comac by US firm Honeywell.
Trump mentioned jet engines in his Tuesday tweets, “I want China to buy our jet engines, the best in the world”, he wrote.
Though Trump rubbished the “National Security excuse”, his own administration raised similar concerns when it came to Chinese products entering America. As the US hunkered down into its trade war with China last year, the Trump administration blacklisted Chinese telecoms firm Huawei, forbidding US companies from using its parts.
The ban remains in force, though waivers have been granted, and State Secretary Mike Pompeo has recently warned the US’ allies against using Huawei’s 5G infrastructure, describing “Huawei and other Chinese state-backed tech companies” as “Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence” at a security conference in Munich last weekend.
Trump’s Commerce Department is also considering placing restrictions on China that would limit its tech firms’ use of American chip-making equipment, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Moreover, despite the passing of a ‘phase one’ trade deal between Washington and Beijing last month, the US has kept tariffs in place on some $370 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Restricting imports and boosting exports has been a key component of Trump’s mercantilist trade policy to date. The signing of the ‘phase one’ trade deal was contingent on China agreeing to purchase $200 billion worth of American goods and services over the next two years.
The president has deployed this same approach in Europe too, placing sanctions on the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, while simultaneously offering American Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Europe as an alternative to the cheaper Rusian fuel.
“THE UNITED STATES IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS,” the former property magnate declared on Tuesday.