In his latest State of the Union address, President Trump delivered a clear message to any parties considering going through with unfair trade practices. He made several references to the need for “fair and reciprocal” trade.
This is the latest move related to Trump’s efforts to “put America first.” He hasn’t been shy about his displeasure with the trade agreements that were in place when he was sworn in. He has already pulled the US out of the Trans Pacific Partnership and has been very critical of NAFTA and the trade agreement that the US has with South Korea. He, along with his political base, feels that much more can be done to strengthen the US economy, in particular the manufacturing sector.
Specific actions that he can take include imposing tariffs, as he has already begun to do. Under the “Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917,” the President can raise or alter tariffs on any country as long as the US is in a time of war. (It doesn’t matter who that war is with, and the war on terrorism can count.)
It’s widely thought that Trump was speaking directly to China, the major U.S. manufacturing rival, during his State of the Union address. China seems to be ever increasing its presence on the world-wide market, and Trump has shown himself to be someone who will not back down from a fight. The Trump administration has mentioned that China has been guilty of trade abuses in the past in an attempt to gain the upper hand. May of the businesses based in China are in some way sponsored by the state, so it can be difficult to sort through exactly what the relationship is between the private and public sector.