US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross defends Washington’s tariff threats

Global Business

Washington’s top commerce official is defending America’s tariff threats against China and other trading partners.

This comes as 2018 Chinese investment in the U.S. drops to a seven-year low. CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports from Capitol Hill.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has defended Washington’s controversial decision to use tariffs to change its trading relationship with Beijing.

“We’ve tried negotiation. I myself have been four or five times in China negotiating over the last year or so. And the president has concluded that we need more than just negotiation,” said Secretary Ross.

China has approved retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. and continues to call for a return to talks.

“We believe that to resolve a trade issue, a dialogue is better than confrontation. But if someone insists on waging a trade war, we will firmly defend our legitimate and lawful rights and interests and will fight back to the end,” said Geng Shuang, Chinese foreign ministry Spokesperson.

But U.S. lawmakers say the trade conflict could wipe out some American businesses — before any compromise can be reached.

“Mr. secretary as you consider these tariffs, know that you are taxing American families, you are putting American jobs at risk and you are destroying markets both foreign and domestic for American businesses,” said U.S. Senator for Utah Orrin Hatch.

“I’ve heard from Pacific NW Cherry growers who’ve gotten nearly 1.5 million boxes of cherries ready to ship. They’re worried those cherries are going to end up stuck on the dock or rotting in a warehouse, due to China’s retaliation,” added U.S. Senator for Oregon Ron Wyden.

But U.S. President Donald Trump is doubling down. This week, he called for tariffs on another $200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told lawmakers he’s already identified 50 products to put on the list.

Meantime, the Rhodium Group research firm released a report that said Chinese investment in the U.S. has dropped 92% in the first five months of 2018- the lowest level in seven years. And yet, Secretary Ross told lawmakers, he’s prepared to impose more restrictions on Chinese investments.

Stephen Lande talks trade tensions between the US and China</h4>

CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Stephen Lande about U.S. trade threats on the global community. Lande is president of the advisory firm Manchester Trade.