Speaking at an appearance with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Donald Trump went easy on Chinese leadership by blaming the nearly $300 billion trade deficit on past U.S. administrations. Meanwhile, the trip concluded with no Chinese concessions on state capitalism or industrial capacity.
Said Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul:
"We are bitterly disappointed with the president's failure to demand systemic reforms in our economic relationship with China. Business deals are always welcome, but there are no substitutes for firmer U.S. policy toward China, or for demanding more from China's leaders on economic reform.
"There has been no tangible progress in reducing China's mammoth industrial overcapacity in sectors such as steel, aluminum, and semiconductors. There have been no brakes applied to China's drive for even more all-encompassing state capitalism and control over technology. And, I see nothing in the president's trip that will measurably reduce our bilateral trade deficit with China.
"This trip was all for show.
"While Trump is not wrong in pointing the finger of blame back to the United States for negotiating poor agreements and providing lax enforcement, that finger is now pointed at him.
"The first thing President Trump must do when he returns to the United States is complete the Section 232 investigations on steel and aluminum and deliver on his promise to America's factory workers."
Paul addressed growing trade deficits and industrial overcapacity in a letter to President Trump before the president's trip. Paul wrote:
"For too long, our trade policies haven't been focused on supporting our manufacturing sector but, in many ways, have undermined it. The United States is long overdue for a new approach to trade, especially with China. It is both possible and desirable to create a trade policy framework to support a resurgent, Made in America manufacturing base."
To read the full letter, visit AmericanManufacturing.org.