WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — “Reversing decades of calamitous trade policies” is one priority that is paramount to the United States’ efforts to build on its economic success, U.S. President Donald Trump said during his State of the Union Address on Feb. 5.
Trump touched on a number of different trade topics during his 82-minute speech, ranging from tariffs on Chinese goods to the implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Commenting on the United States’ trade relationship with China, Trump said his administration is making it a point to make it clear to China “that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.”
“Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods — and now our Treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime,” Trump said. “But I don’t blame China for taking advantage of us — I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen. I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.”
Meanwhile, Trump described the North American Free Trade Agreement as both a “historic trade blunder” and “catastrophe.” He said he believes the new USMCA will replace NAFTA while delivering on previously failed promises.
He said he expects the USMCA to bring back manufacturing jobs, expand American agriculture and protect intellectual property.
Trump also made a plea for the passing of the U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act. The purpose of the act, he said, is to allow the United States to assess the same tariff on products from other countries that may have been assessed to U.S. products.
“Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure,” Trump said. “I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill — and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting-edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.”
Commenting on Trump’s address, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the president provided “a unifying, hopeful vision for the nation.”
“The president’s policies have been beneficial to American agriculture in the short term, but also have laid the foundation for long-term prosperity,” Perdue said. “Our trade agreements with other nations are getting stronger, and the strategies the president has employed will lead to new and expanded markets for our products. This was a patriotic speech, reminding Americans of the greatness of this country, with even brighter hopes for the future.”