Listen: China, United States And President discussed on The California Report Magazine
"This is all things considered from NPR news. I'm Elsa Chiang. I'm Mary, Louise, Kelley and next. We're going to meet a man engaged in the fight of his life. Robert lighthizer is the US trade Representative and now America's chief trade negotiator with China. The only country that rivals the US and economic size and strength. I country with an economy poised to overtake the US within the next few decades a country now locked in a trade war with the US. So what is the American goal in confronting China? And how hard line is the Trump administration prepared to be to achieve it questions. We can put to Robert lied lighthizer because he is here. Live in our studio investor. Lighthizer welcome. Thank you. Pleasure to be here shirt. With the timeframe you have agreed a ninety day pause for talks to try to end this trade war. What specifically you need to see the end of these ninety days to Chuck this up as a success? Well, we need to see structural changes in in China or agreement to have structural changes ended opening market. So if I could just take a step back and say, how did we give here to where we are? And I would say first of all we have a very large trade deficit with China that's been growing, and it's not the result of economic forces entirely. So the president looked at the situation and said the most pressing part of this is the theft and forced technology transfer from the United States companies to Chinese companies, and we did a study, which I gave you a copy of the dead. The took eight or nine months, and it's it's a couple of hundred pages. We've sense done a supplement of it. And it demonstrates that. There is a serious problem of failure to protect intellectual property. We should take a step back monitor cells. That is really the the lifeblood of the American economy. We are very good innovators in very good, creators. And they'll stop you from me because what you're describing are big challenges that have been big challenges in the US China trade relationship for a long time. Are you confident that you will be able to make enough progress to continue pausing? This trade were in the next ninety days, or I guess we're now seven days so in the next eighty three eighty three days, I would say first of all that just underline your boy. But how long it is? If you ask me, what was the first time, we had an unofficial government to government intellectual property. Crisis with China was during George Herbert Walker Bush's administration in nineteen Ninety-one. That's all on since. Then we've probably seen China agree to correct this problem or some aspect of it maybe twenty times, and they have done. None of that till now. So when you say my confident, I'm never confident I've been doing this a long time I've been negotiating longtime. I've gotten a lot of deals done. If there's a deal to be done, the president wants us to do it. If it's in the interest of the United States, if it opens up their market in a fit requires them to do structural changes that will protect our technology. Then the president wants to do it. If not we won't have one I'm going in here expecting to work hard. Like we have in all respects. We have a lot of expertise in my building. And my I myself, and the Chinese will bring a lot of experts. It's a difficult thing to do. I don't want to suggest for a second that it's not it's very tough. They've had assistant. It's worked very well for them for a long time as you say how much? Economy's grown their economies grown from about a trillion dollars nine hundred ninety nine two as you know over twelve trillion now with this context, let me steer you back to my question. Which was what specifically do you want to see at the end of this ninety days, you'll think okay? We did it. We got it done. Is there something in writing a specific line that you're holding out for well, we have a lot of things we'd be exchanged a lot of papers. This has been going on for a while. I don't what your listeners to think that this is something that just came up in the last few days this has been going on for a year and a half. We've had a number of talks. We'd be a lot of papers. The reason I mentioned our study is the essence of the study is forced technology transfer cyber theft of technology and state capital muse together technology, so we work back from there. What do we need to have a success? We need an open market or or a moral been market more access by American companies. We need protection of intellectual property we need to stop cyber theft. We. Need to stop fourth technology transfer. That is to say giving your technology in order to do business in China, which is something that is we think inconsistent. Which is you mentioned is something the US has been pushing for for generations since before you came in and started working on all this. So how long if you don't get what you want in this ninety day window. How long do you anticipate keeping tariffs on China? I don't want to address that right now. My it's a question on a lot of people's minds manufacturer and farmers, and it is it's a fair question. If you believe that we have a very serious problem one that is really costing America. Billions and billions of dollars in an awful lot of jobs, and is getting worse and worse and worse than you have to realize this may take a long time. Our hope is something that can be managed over a period of time. But but right now that you put any dues months years. No, there's no there's no time. Limit the way. This works is. The tariffs are in place until the president decides tariffs, go out of place and the remedy. Has to be linked to the kinds of things that we found in the report. So we have a very serious very difficult. Problem is one that we think one we can make substantial improvements in market access by having the Chinese purchase. And then we have talked through and expect them to want to make a number of other changes that will protect technology. Finally, put this very difficult complex problem as you describe it in personal terms, I interviewed a soybean farmer today. Josh geico. He was speaking to me from his farm in North Dakota. And here's what he told me year-over-year comparison. We're proximity. Eighty percent below what we typically would have shipped to China at this time last year. Not being able to get your product or sell your product to who has historically been your number one customer and make things very difficult investor lighthizer he was describing green bins stuff to soybeans that he would rather have on a train headed to the west coast to put it on a boat and send it to China. And instead it stacked about there. What do you say to him and other farmers like him? Well, I would say the president is very concerned about American agriculture. He has us going out every day at U S T R my agency and trying to open up new markets. We're talking to the to the Japanese were talking to the Europeans. We're talking to the Indians. We're talking to a variety of other countries handover heart at this point that the US trade war with China isn't hurting the US more than China. So far. I certainly think it is hurting China more than just hurting the United States. But our objective is not to hurt. Anybody? Our objective is to make changes. So that it's in the long term best interest of the United States. If you don't start with the proposition that this is an extremely important question for the future of American industry in American jobs. If you don't start with that. And none of it makes any sense. That's why the president had I sit down and do such a careful study the reality is we have a very serious problem. If this was a minor problem that we were worrying about then you would have to balance what it's costing. But the reality is this is a major major issue in this one that has to be sorted out. And the president has enormous amount of compassion for farmers and other forms, and I would just make one other point quickly. If we open this market, there's a lot more sales in China for a US farmers much much more than they do. They're only about twenty billion dollars. Now, they should be. Double that are more Robert lighthizer. Thank you United States. Trade Representative Robert lighthizer on NPR news. You're listening to all things considered from."