- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2019

President Trump signed an executive order Monday requiring firms to produce 75% of their materials in the U.S. to claim “Made In America” status, up from 50%.

He said goods such as iron and steel must meet a 95% standard as he showcased an array of American-made goods on the White House lawn.

“My philosophy is simple: If we can grow it, build it or make it in the United States, we will,” Mr. Trump said.

Standing in front of trailers, motorboats and other goods, Mr. Trump portrayed himself as a unique crusader who is rewriting unfair trade deals and tipping the scales back in favor of American workers.

It was a key part of his brand in 2016, and is looming large on the cusp of the 2020 campaign, as his administration pushes Congress to approve his rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He is also seeking the upper hand in a trade war with China.

Mr. Trump said American companies are surging and that Japan and other nations are lending a hand by investing in auto plants in places like Michigan.

“We have a miracle — we’re up 600,000 manufacturing jobs since the election,” Mr. Trump at the White House.

Before speaking, Mr. Trump stepped inside a trailer from Airstream Inc. in Ohio and checked out a large motorboat from Freeman Boatworks in South Carolina, among other products.

Products from all 50 states were on display at the third-annual Made in America showcase, according to the White House.

Mr. Trump said Litespeed Bicycles, of Tennessee, has seen 70% growth since moving back some of its operations to the U.S.

“That’s what I like, when they move back. We don’t have to make product in other countries,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump tied America’s surging economic numbers to his get-tough approach to foreign powers like China, saying foreign powers have been allowed to “eat our lunch” for years.

“It’s not going on any longer,” Mr. Trump said, pointing to reports China’s economy slowed in the second quarter. “China’s had its worst year in 27 years.”

Mr. Trump said he isn’t looking to punish China, though accused its negotiators of reneging on parts of a trade deal that fell apart in the spring.

He said he’s working on a way forward with Chinese Xi Jinping, though underscored their relationship and reserved his harshest criticism for past U.S. leaders. He singled out former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, a 2020 Democratic contender who leads Mr. Trump in many polls.

Mr. Trump says the front-runner cannot be believed when he says the U.S. will stand up to China under a Biden administration.

“He didn’t do it,” Mr. Trump said. “He’s been there for like 45 years.”

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