12:45 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you everybody. This hasbeen long in the making. You’ve heard many, many speeches by me and talksby me, and interviews where I talk about unfair trade practices. We’velost, over a fairly short period of time, 60,000 factories in our country —closed, shuttered, gone. Six million jobs, at least, gone. And nowthey’re starting to come back. You see what’s happening with Chrysler,with Foxconn, with so many other companies wanting to come back into the UnitedStates.
But we have one particular problem. And I view them as afriend; I have tremendous respect for President Xi. We have a greatrelationship. They’re helping us a lot in North Korea. And that’sChina.
But we have a trade deficit, depending on the way you calculate,of $504 billion. Now, some people would say it’s really $375billion. Many different ways of looking at it, but any way you look atit, it is the largest deficit of any country in the history of our world. It’s out of control.
We have a tremendous intellectual property theft situation goingon, which likewise is hundreds of billions of dollars. And that’s on ayearly basis. I’ve spoken to the President. I’ve spoken torepresentatives of China. We’ve been dealing with it very seriously.
As you know, we’re renegotiating NAFTA. We’ll see how thatturns out. Many countries are calling to negotiate better trade dealsbecause they don’t want to have to pay the steel and aluminum tariffs. And we are negotiating with various countries — Mr. Lighthizer, Mr. Ross.
We are just starting a negotiation with the European Unionbecause they’ve really shut out our country to a large extent. They havebarriers that — they can trade with us but we can’t trade with them. They’re very strong barriers. They have very high tariffs. Wedon’t. It’s just not fair.
NAFTA has been a very bad deal for the United States, but we’llmake it better or we’ll have to do something else. The deal we have withSouth Korea is a very one-sided deal. It’s a deal that has to be changed.
So we have a lot of things happening. But in particular,with China, we’re going to be doing a Section 301 trade action. It couldbe about $60 billion but that’s really just a fraction of what we’re talkingabout.
I’ve been speaking with the highest Chinese representatives,including the President, and I’ve asked them to reduce the trade deficitimmediately by $100 billion. It’s a lot. So that would be anywherefrom 25 percent, depending on the way you figure, to maybe something even morethan that. But we have to do that.
The word that I want to use is “reciprocal.” When theycharge 25 percent for a car to go in, and we charge 2 percent for their car tocome into the United States, that’s not good. That’s how China rebuiltitself. The tremendous money that we’ve paid since the founding of theWorld Trade Organization — which has actually been a disaster for us. It’s been very unfair to us. The arbitrations are very unfair. Thejudging has been very unfair. And knowingly, we always have a minorityand it’s not fair.
So we’re talking to World Trade, we’re talking to NAFTA, we’retalking to China, we’re talking to the European Union. And I will say,every single one of them wants to negotiate. And I believe that, in manycases — maybe all cases — we’ll end up negotiating a deal.
So we’ve spoken to China and we’re in the midst of a very largenegotiation. We’ll see where it takes us. But in the meantime, weare sending a Section 301 action. I’ll be signing it right here, rightnow. I’d like to ask Bob Lighthizer to say a few words about the 301 andwhere we are in that negotiation.
And we’re doing things for this country that should have beendone for many, many years. We’ve had this abuse by many other countriesand groups of countries that were put together in order to take advantage ofthe United States, and we don’t want that to happen. We’re not going tolet that happen. It’s probably one of the reasons I was elected; maybeone of the main reasons. But we’re not going to let that happen.
We have, right now, an $800 billion trade deficit with theworld. So think of that. So let’s say we have 500 to 375, but let’ssay we have 500 with China, but we have 800 total with the world. Thatwould mean that China is more than half. So we’re going to get it takencare of. And, frankly, it’s going to make us a much stronger, much richernation.
The word is “reciprocal.” That’s the word I want everyoneto remember. We want reciprocal — mirror. Some people call it amirror tariff or a mirror tax. Just use the word reciprocal. Ifthey charge us, we charge them the same thing. That’s the way it’s got tobe. That’s not the way it is. For many, many years — for manydecades, it has not been that way.
And I will say, the people we’re negotiating with — smilingly,they really agree with us. I really believe they cannot believe they’vegotten away with this for so long.
I’ll talk to Prime Minister Abe of Japan and others — great guy,friend of mine — and there will be a little smile on their face. And thesmile is, “I can’t believe we’ve been able to take advantage of the UnitedStates for so long.” So those days are over.
Ambassador Lighthizer, thank you.
AMBASSADOR LIGHTHIZER: Well, thank you very much, Mr.President. First of all, for those of you who don’t know, Section 301 isa statute that gives substantial power, authority to the President to correctactions in certain circumstances where there’s unfair acts, policies, orpractices by our trading partners.
In this case, the area is technology. Technology isprobably the most important part of our economy. There’s 44 millionpeople who work in high-tech knowledge areas. No country has as muchtechnology-intensive industry as the United States. And technology isreally the backbone of the future of the American economy.
Given these problems, the President asked USTR
to conduct astudy. We conducted a thorough study. We had hearings. Wereviewed tens of thousands of pages of documents. We talked to many, manybusiness people. We had testimony, as I say.
And we concluded that, in fact, China does have a policy offorced technology transfer; of requiring licensing at less than economic value;of state capitalism, wherein they go in and buy technology in the United Statesin non-economic ways; and then, finally, of cyber theft.
The result of this has been that the President has analyzed it —we have a 200-page study which we will put out — and he has concluded that weshould put in place tariffs on appropriate products — we can explain later howwe concluded what products they are; that we would put investment restrictionson China with respect to high technology; and that we’ll file a WTO case. Because one of the actions here does involve a WTO violation.
This is an extremely important action, very significant and veryimportant for the future of the country, really, across industries. And Iwould really like to thank you very much, Mr. President, for giving me theopportunity to work on it.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Bob. SecretaryRoss.
SECRETARY ROSS: Intellectual property rights are ourfuture, and it’s no accident that in June of this year, the U.S. Patent andTrademark Office will issue its 10 millionth patent — 10 million patents. There’s no country in the history of the world that remotely approaches that.
So the steel and aluminum actions we’ve taken deal more or lesswith the present. This action on intellectual property rights deals withthe future. So we’re trying to solve both today’s problem and problemsthat otherwise will be forthcoming. That’s why these actions are soimportant and so important in unison with each other. We will end upnegotiating these things, rather than fighting over them, in my view.
THE PRESIDENT: Mike Pence, would you like to saysomething?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President, and to allour honored guests. Today’s action sends a clear message that thisPresident and our entire administration are determined to put American jobs andAmerican workers first.
The action the President will take today under Section 301 alsomakes it clear that the era of economic surrender is over. The UnitedStates of America is taking targeted and focused action to protect not onlyAmerican jobs, but America’s technology, which will power and drive aninnovation economy for decades to come.
It is just one more step of a promise made and a promise kept byPresident Trump.
THE PRESIDENT: So we’ll sign right now. I just wantto let everybody know, just for a second time, that we are in the midst of verymajor and very positive negotiations. Positive for the United States and,actually, very positive for other countries also.
We have some of our great business leaders — and leaders, period— right behind me. I may ask Marillyn — Lockheed — the leading woman’sbusiness executive in this country, according to many. And we buybillions and billions of dollars’ worth of that beautiful F-35. It’sstealth. You cannot see it. Is that correct?
MS. HEWSON: That’s correct, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Better be correct. Right?
MS. HEWSON: Absolutely.
THE PRESIDENT: Marillyn, please say a few words.
MS. HEWSON: Well, thank you, Mr. President. I wouldjust say that this is a very important moment for our country, in that we areaddressing what is a critical area for the aerospace and defense industry, andthat is protecting our intellectual property. As has been expressed, thatis a threat to us if we have that stolen from our companies, because that isthe lifeblood of our companies.
And so, we very much welcome this action on the part of theTrump administration and the President of the United States. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Marillyn.
This is the first of many. This is number one, but this isthe first of many.
(The memorandum is signed.)
Thank you all very much. Marillyn. Thank you verymuch.
MS. HEWSON: Thank you, Mr. President.
Q Mr. President, would you still like totestify to the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller?
THE PRESIDENT: I would like to. I would like to.
12:58 P.M. EDT