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CNN’s Jake Tapper sits down with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, in a discussion about the trade deal with China that Trump announced today. Rubio says the Xi Jinping-Trump “reset” will create a framework for building a new world order.
“We’ve obviously got to see the implementation and the elements of this agreement. But I think in the long run this will be very positive for the free world,” says Rubio.
Trump repeatedly linked China to terrorism and violence in the US. Should America move back to terrorism-fighting in Afghanistan or focus on things that actually create security?
“They’re going to use the money they get in trade deals to help rebuild their military,” Rubio says. “They are not going to invade our country. They are not going to send troops into Washington D.C. to help people start a revolution. They don’t want to jeopardize the military by intervening in what is actually a peaceful country.”
But Trump did criticize trade deals and said, “It’s time for America to turn the page and to turn a new page in the history of trade.” Rubio says, “Traders are always happy to have American companies who do well and export to their countries, but so many of them are losing control of their companies and their jobs and that’s the whole point of trade. The American companies that export to China get workers in China, American factories get modernized, they get quality products produced in the United States. And as a result we have American jobs that would otherwise have gone to other countries that are now going to the Chinese market.”
Rubio does not say if Trump should backtrack on his campaign promise of imposing a 45% tariff on China. “I think right now what they have done is taken advantage of the entire trade negotiation,” says Rubio. “A great strategy is to give ultimatums and then flip-flop to see what they’re going to do and then double-cross them. That’s what the Chinese are doing right now.”
Rubio says the deal doesn’t give China flexibility in avoiding the obligations in the deal. “They now have to enforce (rules of origin) to some extent. They’ve got to do more in electronics and they’ve got to enforce them to a certain extent.”
Rubio does warn that China could manipulate its currency to win a trade fight. “There’s a duality to this,” says Rubio. “They want to weaken their currency in order to win trade wars and make our trade better, but because they do that, what ends up happening is they balance their currency out more. And because they more balance the currency, you keep having the effect of competing on a global level.”
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