Just over a month remains before the United States is scheduled to impose a new round of tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese products. On Dec. 15, Washington is expected to slap a 15% duty on a wide variety of consumer goods, including footwear, apparel and other accessories.
As such, businesses, investors and consumers have been keeping a close eye on President Donald Trump’s speech today at the Economic Club of New York, where he addressed trade relations with foreign countries, as well as providing an update on the ongoing trade war with China and whether a “phase one” deal could soon put an end to tit-for-tat tariffs.
Markets appeared to move little during the president’s address. At 1:45 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 35 points, or 0.13%, while the S&P 500 rose almost 10 points, or 0.32%, and the Nasdaq Composite grew roughly 38 points, or 0.45%.
Here, FN rounds up the five takeaways from Trump’s much-anticipated speech.
On the “phase one” trade deal with China:
“My administration has taken the toughest-ever action to confront China’s trade abuses. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs that China is paying for. We’re not paying; China is paying because they’re devaluing their currency to such an extent, and they’re poring tremendous amounts of cash into their system. They’re having their worst year in more than 57 years, more than half a century. Their supply chains are cracking very badly, and they are dying to make the deal. We’re the ones that are deciding whether or not we want to make a deal. We’re close. A significant ‘phase one’ trade deal with China could happen. [It] could happen soon. But we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States and our workers and our great companies because we’ve been hit very hard.”
On moving production back to the U.S.:
“As president, I understand and embrace the fact that the world is a place of fierce competition. We’re competing against other nations for jobs and industry growth and prosperity. Factories and businesses will always find a home. It’s up to us to decide whether that home will be in a foreign country or right here in our country, our beloved USA — and that’s where we want them to stay and be and move to. If we want our families and communities to prosper, America must be the best place on earth to work, invest, innovate, build, pursue a career, hone a craft or start a business. We want companies to move to America, stay in America and hire American workers. My mission is to put our country on the very best footing to thrive, excel, compete and to win.”
On the state of the U.S. job market:
“When we say hire American, we mean hire all Americans by focusing on the needs of people, not the desires of government. We’re helping our citizens realize their ambitions and pursue rewarding careers. Over 1.1 million fewer Americans are now forced to rely on part-time work today than when I was elected — that’s a tremendous number. People were working two jobs and three jobs and making less money than they made 21 years ago — that was the stat. A record number of Americans are quitting the job they had to take the job they like even better … This increased competition is driving up wages for blue-collar workers, who are the biggest beneficiaries of what we’re talking about.”
On the U.S.’s trade relationship with other countries:
“Many countries charge us extraordinarily high tariffs or create impossible trade barriers. Impossible and, I’ll be honest, the European Union [is] very, very difficult. The barriers are terrible. Terrible. In many ways, worse than China. We’re working on legislation known as the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, meaning quite simply what’s good for them is good for us. They wanna judge us, we judge them — it’s a very simple thing. … It’s very unfair the way we’re treated by certain countries. There are certain countries where the average tariff is 100%, and we charge them nothing. And then they call it fair trade. That’s not fair trade. That’s stupid trade.”
On the broader U.S. economy:
“We have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin. We have ended the war on American workers, we have stopped the assault on [the] American industry and we have launched an economic boom the likes of which we have never seen before. … Our middle class was being crushed under the weight of a punitive tax code, oppressive regulations, one-sided trade deals and an economic policy that put America’s interest last — and a very deep last at that. I knew that if we lifted these burdens from our economy and unleashed our people to pursue their ambitions and realize their limitless potential, then economic prosperity would come thundering back to our country at a record speed.”
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