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Democratic leadership accuses US president Donald Trump of being soft on China

Washington: Top Democratic leadership in the US on Wednesday accused President Donald Trump of being soft on China and its "trade abuses", saying he failed to fulfil his poll promises and commitments to working Americans.

File image of US president Donald Trump. AP

File image of US president Donald Trump. AP

"President Trump – in his campaign, won a lot of votes — promised over and over again that he would crack down on China's mercantilism, but once in office, unfortunately like so many other of his promises and commitments to working Americans, he has not done it," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor.

Schumer alleged that Trump has delayed trade enforcement against China.

"Even the studies he has commissioned have been delayed," he rued.

"We need to get serious about these flagrant trade abuses before it is too late. Middle-class jobs and bedrock American industries are at stake," he said.

A day earlier, The New York Times reported that one of the fastest growing Chinese car companies is plotting ways to sell their cars in America.

According to the NYT, by pursuing a partnership with Fiat Chrysler, Chinese state-owned company GAC Automobiles hoped to enter the US market through a backdoor.

It would be the first Chinese carmaker to sell in the US.

"If they were to do so, they’d face a 2.5 per cent tariff here in the United States. Meanwhile, if a US automaker sold its cars in China, it would face a 25 per cent tariff – ten times higher — and would have to compete with state-owned businesses and unfair regulations,” Schumer said.

"So, while China prevents US automakers from gaining a foothold in their country with prohibitive tariffs, what the times called 'the highest trade barriers by far of any major car market', they are plotting ways to eat into our market," he said.

"It's manifestly unfair, and a typically unfortunate example of China’s rapacious trading policies," Schumer said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday held telephone talks with Trump to resume a suspended dialogue programme aimed at improving bilateral economic ties, amid tensions over their huge trade imbalance.

The phone call between the two leaders came as the Trump administration threatened tough action against China including punitive tariffs, sanctions and even a trade war.

Updated Date: Jan 18, 2018 10:35 AM

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