Whole world agrees on China’s unfair trade practices: WH

WASHINGTON, June 7: The whole world agrees with the United States on the “unfair” trade practices of China, the White House said today, claiming that many countries have filed complaints against Beijing with the World Trade Organization.
“The whole world agrees with us regarding China’s trade practices. And, in fact, many parts of that world have filed their own complaints on exactly the same grounds, either with the government of China or with the World Trade Organization. So make no mistake about that,” Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council at the White House, told reporters at a news conference.
Responding to questions on Trump’s trade agenda, Kudlow said he considers the President as a “trade reformer”.
“He (Trump) regards himself as a free trader. But until we can deal with these unfair practices and so forth, we will not have fair trade,” he said.
“Until we can have reciprocal relationships, we will not have free trade, we will not have fair trade.  His cause is just, and I think the rest of the world agrees with him. I mean, it always has from day one,” Kudlow said.
According to the top White House trade official, the negotiations between the US and China regarding trade will lower the trade deficit if it works out.
“There are no deals at the moment. This is not a government to government. This is not the Chinese government buying a bunch of natural gas and soybeans from America. This is about reducing tariff rates and non-tariff barriers that will permit the increase in US export sales to China,” he said responding to a question on the ongoing trade negotiations with China.
“There are other issues here regarding technology transfers and theft of IP and so forth.  …If you lower the tariff rates and if you lower the non-tariff barriers and you permit increased US export sales — we are the most competitive economy in the world, so we will get that job done — then the trade gap will probably fall.  That’s how that will work,” Kudlow asserted.
He said one of the reasons for the breakdown of the world trading system, which Trump is trying to fix, in the last 20 years, has been a lack of discipline and tariff and non-tariff barriers have gone up.
There has been a lot of protectionism, he added.
The United States, Kudlow said, has the lowest average tariff in the world.      “And if you go down a laundry list of industries, you will see we are much lower. Our tariff rates are much lower than our competitors,” he said, adding that Trump is seeking a level playing field.
“He calls it ‘reciprocity’. I think it’s a very apt description. That’s the problem. If you bring down the barriers, and you equalise the level of the playing field, then we’ll let nature take its course, we’ll let markets take their course, and we will see,” Kudlow said.
He alleged that the previous US presidents have paid lip service to this issue of the lack of reciprocity and China’s particularly “bad behaviour”.
“Nothing ever comes of it. This President has the backbone to take the fight, and he will continue to make the fight because he believes it is in the best interest of the United States and also the rest of the world,” The WH official said. Said.
Responding to questions on General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and WTO, Kudlow said it was a good system, which lasted for several decades. “It was a good system, and it lasted for a bunch of decades.  But that system has been broken in the last 20 years,” he said.
“The World Trade Organization, for example, has become completely ineffectual. Even when it makes decisions, even in the rare moments when it makes decisions, important countries don’t even abide by them. So you’re right about that framework from the mid-1940s on. I think it worked beautifully. I think free world trade is a very good thing indeed. But it is broken, and President Trump is trying to fix it. And that’s the key point,” he said.
Trump, Kudlow asserted, was the “strongest” trade reformer seen in many decades. The administration, he said, is bound by the national interest.
“We are bound by the national interests here more than anything else.  We’re always interested in the World Trade Organization.  (USTR) Ambassador (Robert) Lighthizer, in fact, has filed complaints in the WTO with respect to Chinese practices and the practices of other nations. So we’re still working through the WTO,” he said.
“But international multilateral organisations are not going to determine American policy. I think the President has made that very clear,” the top White House official said. (PTI)