发信人: civic2002 (chase), 信区: Military
标 题: 昨天， 美国国会痛斥川普政权
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Fri Jul 13 11:45:17 2018, 美东)
WASHINGTON — The trade war between the United States and China showed no
signs of yielding on Thursday, as Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary,
told lawmakers there was no clear path to resolution and Beijing blasted the
administration over its approach.
Mr. Mnuchin, who has tried to avoid calling the trade tensions with China a
“war,” said talks with Beijing had “broken down” and suggested it was
now up to China to come to the table with concessions. President Trump,
speaking in Brussels on Thursday, described the trade talks with China as a
The Chinese, meanwhile, accused the United States of “acting erratically”
and said the administration had “blatantly abandoned the consensuses that
two sides have reached and insisted on fighting a trade war with China.”
Republicans and Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee showed
little patience for Mr. Mnuchin’s answers about the lack of progress,
repeatedly pressing him about whether there was a strategy to resolve the
trade war and expressing concern that it was starting to hurt parts of the
The White House has already hit Beijing with tariffs on $34 billion worth of
imports and China has responded with a similar amount of levies on American
goods, including soybeans, pork and cars. On Tuesday, the administration
outlined tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese products,
including many consumer products like furniture, dog leashes and fish.
“Is there a master plan?” asked Representative Mia Love, Republican of
Utah. “I implore you to work to end this thing soon.”
Lawmakers from both parties have been bombarded with complaints about
tariffs from soybean farmers, carmakers, nail manufacturers and other
businesses about the fate of their industries as they are starting to face
higher steel and aluminum costs and feel the pain of retaliation from Europe
On Thursday they pressed Mr. Mnuchin, who is seen as a voice of moderation
on trade in the administration, to persuade Mr. Trump to back away from the
Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas and chairman of the
committee, told Mr. Mnuchin that he was deeply concerned about the state of
global trade and signs that business optimism was starting to wane. He said
that he was not impressed with the lone trade deal that Mr. Trump has struck
, with South Korea, and warned that the strong run of economic growth was at
“I would just assure you we very much are monitoring the impact on the
economy of all these trade issues,” Mr. Mnuchin said in response to
questions about the economic effect.
Mr. Mnuchin defended the administration’s approach and insisted that
economic growth remained Mr. Trump’s priority, which did nothing to mollify
Mr. Hensarling, a close ally of the president.
“I appreciate the words; I am concerned about the deeds,” he said.
Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also
repeatedly — and exasperatedly — pushed another Trump administration
official to detail a strategy for prevailing in the trade dispute during a
hearing on Thursday morning.
“The administration needs to explain to Congress where this is all headed,
” Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the committee’s chairman
, told Manisha Singh, an assistant secretary at the State Department, as she
prepared to testify.
“To my knowledge, not a single person is able to articulate where this is
headed, nor what the plans are, nor what the strategy is,” Mr. Corker said.
The committee’s top Democrat, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, told
Ms. Singh at another point that “I don’t understand what the pathway is
here, at the end of the day.”
Ms. Singh, who leads the department’s Bureau of Economic and Business
Affairs, defended the administration’s moves. “Our endgame is for China to
change its behavior,” she said.
After Ms. Singh tried to explain the administration’s approach, Mr. Corker
replied, “That enlightened us in no way.”
While Mr. Trump prizes unpredictability, his approach to trade agreements is
sowing uncertainty that many business leaders, officials, lawmakers and
others worry could undercut an otherwise booming economy.
In an interview with the radio program “Marketplace” on Thursday, the
Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome H. Powell, said that “we don’t know” how
the trade dispute will play out, but that it could harm the recovery.
“I wouldn’t want to, you know, dive into a bunch of hypotheticals here,”
Mr. Powell said, “but I would say, you can imagine situations which would
be very challenging, where inflation is going up and the economy is
The Trump administration has asked China to make a wide array of changes,
including reducing its trade surplus with the United States, stopping what
it described as theft of American intellectual property and opening Chinese
markets to American business.
But by giving the Chinese a long list of demands, that has encouraged
Beijing to focus on those that are easiest to fulfill, said Jeremie Waterman
, president of the China Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“The administration, to a degree, has given the Chinese an off ramp,” he
said. “Giving the Chinese a choice is not an optimal negotiating approach.”
China has also had difficulty figuring out whom to negotiate with, after
tentative agreements reached with Mr. Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, the commerce
secretary, fell through.
“I think they’re coming to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter whether
Mnuchin or Ross or anybody is in the front of the line, that it’s really
going to be figuring out what Trump wants,” said Claire Reade, senior
counsel at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer.
In a sign of the impasse that the dialogue between China and the United
States has reached, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce issued a statement on
Thursday arguing that it has been unfairly vilified with false claims about
its trade practices.
“This is a distortion of facts, therefore groundless,” the ministry said.
“For the purpose of meeting domestic political needs and suppressing China
’s development, the U.S. has fabricated a set of policy arguments that
distort the truth about Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations.”
Mr. Mnuchin said on Thursday that Mr. Trump would not do anything to
jeopardize economic growth. He insisted that he was going to help work with
companies to get exemptions from tariffs and that he would try to persuade
businesses such as Harley-Davidson, the motorcycle maker, not to move
manufacturing abroad to mitigate the pain of retaliatory tariffs.
While Mr. Mnuchin was successful in staving off draconian new Chinese
investment restrictions, the tariffs have kept coming and it remains unclear
how much influence he really has with Mr. Trump. Despite his private
reservations, Mr. Mnuchin continues to defend the administration’s trade
“I can assure you that the president listens to my advice,” Mr. Mnuchin
said in response to a question from Representative Gregory W. Meeks,
Democrat of New York. “He is the president. Sometimes he follows my advice,
and sometimes he doesn’t, which I respect.”
Unimpressed, Mr. Meeks mocked Mr. Trump for describing himself for the
second time on Thursday as a “very stable genius” and asked the Treasury
secretary if he saw himself the same way.
“I am stable,” Mr. Mnuchin said with a chuckle.
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