Putting U.S.-China trade back in balance

President Trump’s recent actions to rebalance the trade relationship between the United States and China confront unfair practices on China’s part that harm American commerce.

Looking at the U.S.’ biggest trading partners — China, Mexico, Japan and Germany — one sees a deficit with China that is greater than the other three combined. The outsized trade deficit in goods and services with China in 2017 was $337 billion, according to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Scale with trade deficit numbers for Japan, Germany and Mexico on one side and China on the other (State Dept./S. Gemeny Wilkinson)

“President Trump has made it clear we must insist on fair and reciprocal trade with China and strictly enforce our laws against unfair trade,” said Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative.

Lighthizer said that talking about these problems for years has not worked. “The United States is committed to using all available tools to respond to China’s unfair, market-distorting behavior,” he said. “China’s unprecedented and unfair trade practices are a serious challenge not just to the United States, but to our allies and partners around the world.”