In a new takedown of trade negotiations with China, United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard chastised the administration of President Donald Trump for not backing up its talk on China.
Gerard said that for a while, “it looked like he (Trump) might” back up talk of eliminating what the USW feels have been “unfair trade practices” out of Beijing.
Gerard praised the move toward tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, but ultimately it was “a feud within the Trump administration” over trade policy between US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro that knocked everything off-course. Gerard blamed Mnuchin for a “weak-kneed” statement that did not require China to reduce its trade deficit over the US by $200 billion.
“The statement does not require China to reduce its overproduction and overcapacity in aluminum and steel. And it contains no specifics on China’s forced technology transfer and cyber theft,” Gerard said.
The USW is not alone in its recent criticisms of the Trump administration. The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) also has soured on the administration’s handling of China. AAM President Scott Paul said the Mnuchin statement did not move American workers and businesses toward “a level playing field.”
“Sometimes it’s better to walk away from the negotiating table to reinforce the point to China that our resolve is strong. We need more details, but I’m not encouraged by the direction these talks are headed,” Paul said.