President Talks Trade With Governors and Lawmakers CSPAN April 13, 2018 1:49am-2:18am EDT
builder berg meeting -- we need to discuss the crisis. , on c-span. >> today president trump talked trade policy with governors and lawmakers from agricultural states. before his meeting, president trump said a new deal on the 24-year-old north american free trade agreement is getting pretty close. here is more from his meeting at the white house. president trump: this is a group i like very much. we are here to discuss agriculture. very important. great people, great americans,
great patriots. they have been treated very badly for a long time. you look at the farmer, it has been unfortunately over a 12 year period trending downward, very much trending downward, so we are changing things with respect to trade and trade with other countries. a lot of times, the farmers, they know what they have, but it would be very good when we get it all finished. it will be great. people are a little concerned going into that wild blue yonder, or in our case, the wild red yonder, but i will say, farmers are going to do fantastically well. they have been trending downward for a long period of time, and we're not going to have that. a lot of that is because of bad trade deals. i am pleased to be joined by several of our nation's governors, very distinguished governors, and members of congress to talk about trade and agriculture.
as you know, the recent investigation led by u.s. trade representative bob lighthizer, who is with us also, identified a pattern of chinese trade abuses, including theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, forced technology transfers which has cost this country hundreds of billions of dollars, and also the targeting of american technology. it has cost us on told hundreds of billions of dollars over the years. larry kudlow is here, shaking his head approvingly of what i am saying. >> yes, sir. >> but disapprovingly of what they have done >>. yes, sir. >> as you are aware, china has consistently treated united states agriculture unfairly. i was very proud of something i did at mar-a-lago in florida. i had president xi, who is a friend of mine, who is a very good man. i don't blame china. i blame our representatives, our people over the past. our president, negotiators, trade representatives, that they allowed this to happen. during a very brief conversation, i said, president, the united states, we want to sell beef again to china. they have not sold it in 14 years or something.
good impact. they are selling a lot of beef in china. for 14 years they were not allowed to sell beef in china. we have the kind of relationship that i think is going to be very aggressively sustained. yesterday, as you know, president xi made a very good speech, said he will open up china, open it up, take down a lot of trade barriers, maybe all of them, but take down a lot of trade barriers. he's going to get rid of a lot of the taxes or tariffs they charge. right now if you have, i use this example because it is so easy, if we sell a car to china, number one, they will not take the car, and if they did take the car, 25% tariff. whereas we have no barrier. and when they sell a car to us, it's 2.5%. they have barriers, but when they don't have barriers, 25% versus 2.5%. that's not a good way to make money. chuck will tell you that. we are straightening that out. we want to be reciprocal. if they charge 25, we charge 25. if they charge 2.5, we charge 2.5, and maybe what happens is we both charge nothing, because i know we would all like that. i think ed would like that better than anybody. that is simpler than 25. let's save all the transfer of funds. that's what we want.
we want more trade. we want no barriers. but the only way you can knock it down, you can't just go in for 25 years, presidents have been trying to negotiate, and have been very unsuccessful. they would say, can we talk? the chinese would say, we can. they would talk for four years, and nothing would happen. nothing would happen. so we are doing a job there at nafta, renegotiating nafta. it's coming along great. i have no time. i keep reading from the fake news media that we are pushing it. i am not pushing it. you are laughing. that's good. you do a beautiful job. but, but i keep hearing how we are pushing nafta, we want it done. there's no timeline. in the meantime, nobody's moving into mexico, because as long as
nafta's in flux, no company will spend $1 billion to build an automobile plant. so i say this to the mexicans, we can negotiate forever, because as long as we have this negotiation going, nobody's going to build billion dollar plants in mexico, which is what they have been doing a lot. they have taken our auto industry by the throat, and so many jobs have been lost. so many massive plants have been built in mexico. top of the line stuff. but that's not happening now. prices move back, a lot of them move back. same thing with agriculture, which will be our predominant discussion today. agriculture is ok with nafta, not great. we will make it great. and we are getting pre-close to a deal. it could be three or four weeks. it could be two months, five months. i don't care. the narrative -- i don't push trade deals. i don't care. if everybody in this room closed their ears, i would say i want to terminate nafta and make a brand-new deal, but i want everyone to be happy in this
room. we will make a fair nafta deal. nafta has cost this country hundreds of billions of dollars. it has been a disaster. we lost 50,000 factories, millions of jobs. nafta has been a disaster. we can either come up with a great nafta deal and a fair one for this country, or we will do something else, and agriculture will be taken care of 100%. so we are going to have a discussion today, and we are going to talk about agriculture as it relates to trade primarily. again, we are doing really well with china. we are having some great discussions. we will see what happens. we put a $50 billion tariff on, then a $100 billion tariff. at a certain point, they run out of bullets. remember what i said. when you are $500 billion down, you can't lose a trade war. i won't call it a trade war. it is really a negotiation. nobody ever negotiated. all they did was talk, and in the meantime we helped rebuild china, because they took so much money.
bridges, airports, military, everything, they took hundreds of billions of dollars out of our country. so now we are really negotiating, and i think they are going to treat us very fairly. i think they want to. i don't blame my friend president xi. i blame our representatives for years who didn't do a damn thing and allowed it to happen. i wish we could do what they did. that would make everybody at this table very happy. so perhaps we are in the process of doing it.t other thing, if you look at the european union, we are talking to them. i don't know if you realize it, but they have virtual barriers against even agriculture from going in, so they sell us their mercedes benzes, bmw's, all the things, we have no barriers whatsoever. nebraska folks, doing a good job. he never liked me until we met. [laughter]
he was a never trumper. then i flew to nebraska, a state
i love, i made a speech and he liked me. he said, let's be friends. >> you vowed to open up the chinese market to u.s. beef, and you delivered on that. >> i did that quickly. in one conversation. so good to see you. we are opening up the european union, or we are not going to be very nice about it. the european union, we lose with almost everybody. with canada, with mexico, with the european union, certainly we lose with china. no matter where you go, very rare, very rare that our country has a surplus. but we are changing it. as ben said, we want to have trade. we want to have barriers taken down. the barriers in many cases are
far worse than the tariffs. the tariffs can be bad, but the barriers are very bad. the european union makes it very hard for agricultural products because their farmers don't want you there. farmers say we don't want the american farmers, but that is not fair, because we take all of their stuff. a plot of cars, a lot of other things. so they have to take down the barriers, because we cannot have it. when you think of the european in the end, the farmers are going to be the biggest beneficiary from all of what's happening. they are great people. we love our farmers. they were so good to me during the election. much more than the center of the country. a big group of people. sonny perdue said, look at this. he held up a map. the whole thing is red. those are the farmers.
we love those farmers. we are going to take care of the farmers. just take a look at the european union. they virtually can't do business. take a look at china, at so many other places. so we are going to finish off these trade deals. i am going to ask sonny, secretary of agriculture, to say a couple words. i might ask bob lighthizer to say a couple of words and maybe larry kudlow, and then we will get on with our meeting and ask the media to head out of the room. >> the people in this room, congress, governors, represent some of the best people in america, those people you used a word i like to use about them, they are patriots first, americans first. they bring the hard-working ethics of the american spirit from their fields and farms and ranches across this country and they support you. they understand what you are trying to do. having the courage to call the question against people who have been cheating, both china and
the eu. the barriers you describe actually punish american farmers more than a lot of other industries because the american farmer and rancher has been so productive. they are with you in that effort. from their livelihood -- lively perspective, we can understand their anxiety. that's what these people hear about. i have been out last week on the road assuring them what you told me, that you are going to take care of american farmers. you don't expect them to be the only soldiers in this battle. first of all, i think your point, what president xi said over the weekend, i don't think we are in a battle yet. i think we have set the stage for a balanced negotiation that can happen, and that's what all of us are hoping and praying for, that we get a good, sound, fair, balanced negotiation with all of these countries and we applaud your leadership and courage in calling that question. >> that's why i called farmers patriots. they know what i am doing.
they had a group on one of the shows over the weekend. they were farmers. do you agree with what the president is doing with china? they all agreed. they all said look, we have to take a little bit of a hit. i don't think they will. but in the end, the country will be much stronger. our country will be much stronger. more importantly, everything's going to be better, just everything's going to be better, and one of them said, you know, most importantly, the country's going to be much stronger, but we are going to make much more money. they are going to be doing much better. as an example, i am working with chuck grassley and joni, deb, all of us, we are working together. and we are working on the ethanol. it's really working out. i think it's going to really work out. people have been talking about this for years, and we think we are going to do something early. this is no guarantee, but we are going to raise it up to 15%, which makes a lot of people happy.
we are going to go to 12 months, which makes a lot of farmers very happy. we go from eight months to 12 months, that's a big difference. it was always unnecessary and ridiculous. we are going to work out something during the transition period, which is not easy, very complicated, because we have to take care of our refineries, of a lot of people, but we are working on transition now. there will be a two year period of time that we have a little bit of complexity while things are happening, while things are being built. but we will be going probably, probably to 15, and we will go to a 12 month period. i think that's going to be -- look at that big smile. all of a sudden there are a lot of smiles. [laughter] it's going to solve a problem. we will be helping also the refineries. the refineries are going to be able to do much better, because right now there are a lot of them not doing well. we have to help the refineries. we are very close to getting
that done, and we have worked hard on that. but it's coming along very nicely. could i ask bob lighthizer to say a few words? >> i would say first of all, we will get into details in the private session, as you asked. i talked to a lot of people around this room a lot. i hope you all realize i am available to talk. i know this is in time information and consulting is important. i have not talked to all of you, but most of you i talked to a fair amount. i welcome you, happy to do it. >> he is working about 23 hours a day and he sleeps for one. look at him. [laughter] that's all right. that's ok. you're looking good. we are only kidding. >> i don't look that bad. second thing, we tend to think a lot about agriculture. the fact is, you can't really find a serious market where we could not do better in agriculture. china, we talk about the sales
there, but they are a fraction of what they should be. so we are very much on the aggressive side, as far as it goes. moving quickly, we have made all this progress. i feel, i agree with the president on everything, including on nafta. having said that, we are making progress on nafta. something that people don't know, we have 18 cases at the wto, pursuing the interest of agriculture within the trading system, which is a very big part of what we do. >> starting to get much better results at the world trade organization, wto. because they know we are not playing games anymore. we are going to get the results or they are not going to be so happy. it was set up to hurt us. if you look at it, 25 years ago or whatever it was, it was really set up to take advantage of the united states, as far as i'm concerned. but we are starting to get much better results. that would make a lot of people very happy. go ahead.
>> the final thing i would add, and we will talk about this privately. the china situation is a serious problem. everybody realizes something has to be done. the numbers were off the charts. it is a real threat to our economy. the president has a plan you can draw literally back from june of 2016 where we talked specifically about what we would do, ran on this issue, has a mandate. i will show you every moderate, reasonable, well studied step we have taken. i will do this in private. we can see how we got here in a very moderate, reasonable way, but it is not an issue that can be further kicked down the road. we expect to continue to do it that way to get a good result. >> you really are doing a great job. i appreciate it. we want to see the end result. doesn't matter what happens during the course, it is the end result that counts. while we are talking about china, we are getting along very well. i think we are going to do some great things. but very importantly, they are
very much helping us at the border of north korea, and they are continuing to, and they view it as something they should do. i think it certainly is very beneficial to them, getting rid of nuclear weapons is very good for them, good for everybody. they have really been a great help to us at the border of north korea. maybe that all plays into what we are doing. i think everything does. but perhaps that's one of the reasons they are so helpful. they have been really terrific in helping us get to some kind of a settlement. meetings are being set up right now between myself and kim jong-un. i think it will be terrific. i think we will go in with a lot of respect, and we'll see what happens. we have come a long way, but china has really helped us at the border, and we appreciate it. larry kudlow. >> thank you. let me add on.
economic policies are succeeding and promoting economic growth in the u.s. we are already running over 3% growth the last three quarters. people said we couldn't, but we are. there might be a rocky quarter someplace, but the trend is undeniable. i would say, you know me, i am a growth guy. better economic growth helps everyone. everyone. i don't care what industry, what sector, what state, what region, growth helps everyone. 155 million americans are benefiting from growth. new businesses, existing businesses, new investments, existing investments. getting rid of the tax burden, the regulatory burdens. help growth. connecting with the president's trade initiatives, these are designed to promote growth.
you lose sight of that if you get into the various details. i urge you not to think of the worst case in every situation. i just urge you to do that. we have got one of the greatest negotiators on the planet. he has laid out a menu of options. everything is on the table. if he has to do it, he will do it, but there's also a positive side. the president said we had good signals from china, for a change, in the past few days. the president signal back. great discussions are going on. china initiatives with respect to technology and barriers, and autos, farming. this is all designed at the end of the rainbow to promote growth. there's a pot of gold there. if you open that pot, there will be better growth and more prosperity in every part of this country, for every working person in this country. that is the design.
not the punishment. it is the growth. i spoke to a lot of house members this morning and said this. i hope i am not violating anything here. stay with us while we go through this difficult process. stay with us. at the end, if the worst case comes out -- stay with us now. next two months could be very important. if he succeeds, and i do believe he is going to succeed, growth is the dividend. prosperity we have not seen in 20 years. this trade initiative is part of our growth policies, with lower tax rates and lower regulations. president trump has ended the war on business. that is part of this. could we grow 4%? who knows? this is good stuff, even though it is difficult in the process. it is all aimed at growth.
that is the cardinal message. i have set it for many decades. i am still saying it. these are the best earth policies i have seen since i was a kid working for reagan. -- these are the best growth policies i have seen since i was a kid working for reagan. >> just to finish, we have some tremendous numbers coming out from companies. we have hundreds of billions of dollars pouring back into our country from our tax cut plan, where money overseas is coming in. which larry, you often talk about. apple is investing $350 billion in plants, which they don't have many of, but they will, and campuses, everything else. other companies are investing billions of back in our country. dollars they are bringing in billions of dollars, i would say ahead of schedule, even far ahead of schedule, and that's going to create growth and jobs and everything else. as you know, we had 32 solar
plants, and of the 32, i think 30 were closed, right? it's a new industry, but they were getting absolutely killed by china and some others. we put a tariff on those panels coming in, which were not nearly as good as the ones we make. now we have two that are open. can you imagine? of the 32, there were two just about limping along, barely open. now doing very well, looking to open eight, nine of the plants. same thing with washing machines. they were dumping washing machines all over the country, just dumping them. we put a 30% tariff on, and now washing machine plants are expanding and opening and our country. so i just want to use tariffs judiciously, but it concern we -- but it can certainly help. the steel and aluminum, 10% on aluminum. i said i thought this might happen. aluminum is down 4% since we put a 10% tariff on it, so someday
somebody is going to explain to me. i didn't think it would be that good, i thought it would go up just a little bit. steel, we have taken the tariff off some countries when we have been able to renegotiate deals. for instance, in south korea, when they heard they had to pay a 25% tariff on steel, they went absolutely crazy, and we made a deal. the deal is pretty much concluded. we made that largely because of the fact that they did not like the fact they were having to pay tariffs on steel. we have been able to -- even the european union, they are not happy. we are negotiating with them. i say to them, in some cases people are paying tariffs, but they have really helped us when used properly. they really get people to the
table, and that's what we want. but i want people to the table also for our great american farmers, for the ag industry. i love those people. we are taking care of those people, and it's working out really well. thank you all very much for being here. thank you very much thank you. we are having a meeting today on syria. we are having a number of meetings today. we will see what happens. we are obviously looking at that very closely and i will be leaving here. i was there and now i will be going back as soon as this meeting is over. we are looking very seriously and closely at that whole situation and we will see what happens. it is too bad. the world puts us in a position like that. as i said this morning, we have done a great job with isis. we have just absolutely decimated isis, but now we have to make some further decisions. they will be made fairly soon.
thank you all very much. thank you. + thanks, everyone. >> deputy white house press secretary sat down with c-span for an interview. he talked that his start in s and what it is like working for president trump. missouri a former secretary of state will be the keynote speaker at the new hampshire democratic party dinner. he has hinted about a potential presidential run in 2020. live coverage starting at 5:30 eastern on c-span. >> sunday, on 1958, america in turmoil, conservative politics.
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