- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Senate’s top Democrat on Thursday said President Trump has been tougher on China than Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama but must keep up the pressure, particularly on Huawei, amid signs of a thaw in the trade war.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer said China is trying to “dodge a conversation” about national security by narrowing the scope of talks to trade alone.

The Trump administration blacklisted Chinese telecom company Huawei over fears the company’s 5G equipment could be used for espionage or to disrupt U.S. networks — a charge the firm denies.

Mr. Schumer said this is no time to relent.

“President Trump has shown some strength on this issue, but then he often backs off. We’ve got to be tough on Huawei, very tough on Huawei. That’s the best way to teach China that they can’t sell whatever they want here in America and not let us sell in China,” the chamber’s minority leader said on the Senate floor.

“President Trump, you’ve been tougher on China than President Bush or Obama,” he added. “I give you some credit for that, but it will all come to naught unless we actually take action. Don’t let Huawei sell here, don’t let Huawei get the components, made in America, that they need to continue to threaten both our economic and national security.”

The U.S.-China trade war presents a balancing act for Democrats. They agree that China must change its trade practices and stop swiping intellectual property, though they have criticized Mr. Trump’s blunt-force use of tariffs, saying they will harm American consumers and farmers.

Mr. Trump has authorized billions of dollars in bailout payments to farmers hurt by the trade war.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump said he expects China to buy a number of U.S. farm products, one day after the countries exchanged goodwill gestures by easing their tariff threats.

“It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

For weeks, he accused Beijing of reneging on a midsummer deal to buy farm products in exchange for a freeze on tariffs.

Tensions boiled over in August, with China cutting off agricultural purchases and Mr. Trump threatening bigger levies on Chinese goods this fall.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump said tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods will increase from 25% to 30% on Oct. 15, instead of Oct. 1. He said the gesture of “good will” would spare the communist Beijing government embarrassment as it celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding.

Earlier in the day, China said it would waive tariffs on more than a dozen U.S. goods, ranging from seafood to pharmaceuticals, ahead of October trade talks in Washington.

Mr. Trump said he’s not interested in an interim trade deal, which had been floated in reports Thursday.

“I’d rather get the whole deal done,” Mr. Trump told White House reporters.

Members of Congress, including Mr. Schumer and Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, say whatever path trade talks take, the administration cannot budge on Huawei.

Mr. Cotton has offered legislation that would give Congress power to disallow waivers that any administration might grant to U.S. companies attempting to do business with Huawei.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide