UPDATED 11:48 AM PT — Thursday, November 21, 2019
Sen. Marco Rubio is calling for a free and balanced trading relationship with China. In an interview Thursday, the Florida Republican said the president’s tariffs against Beijing are not undermining free trade because the U.S. has never had free trade with China.
As the Trump administration continues to negotiate a ‘phase one’ trade deal with Beijing, Rubio said fixing the trading relationship is not just a “one-time issue.” He said it will take time to fully overhaul the trading relationship with the country, and the biggest issue will be enforcing a deal.
“I don’t view this as a one-time issue, this is not the same USMCA or some of these other issues,” he stated. “This is a much broader geopolitical balance that we need to achieve, and that’s going to take some time and potentially multiple administrations.”
According to Chinese officials, the ongoing trade talks with the U.S. are moving along normally. In a news conference Thursday, a spokesman for Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce said China is willing to address core trade concerns as they work to finalize the ‘phase one’ agreement. This comes as the Trump administration has not said if it will delay the tariff increase on around $160 billion of Chinese goods on December 15th.
Gao Feng, a spokesman for Chinese Ministry of Commerce, dismissed rumors the talks had become shaky by saying both sides are keeping close communication.
“The outside rumors are not accurate, China will work with the U.S. side on the basis of equality and mutual respect in addressing the core concerns of each other and try our best to reach a deal for the first phase,” he stated. “This is in the interests of both China and the U.S. as well as the world.”
President Trump said the first phase will address issues of agricultural trade, intellectual property theft, and currency protections. The president previously said he hoped to sign an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC summit in Chile, but that event was canceled amid violent protests in the capital city. The U.S. and China have not scheduled a new meeting to sign the deal.