So, for decades, American workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and innovators have been hurt by the unfair trade with China. Forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft have been huge problems. Since China joined the World Trade Organization two decades ago, we have racked up nearly $5 trillion — the Vice Premier, I hope he’s not listening to this — (laughter) — in trade deficits, lost millions and millions of manufacturing jobs, and saw tens of thousands of factories close. And that had to do, also, with Mexico, and, to an extent, Canada.
What they did to this country with trade and trade deals — NAFTA. We had no deal with China. I mean, we had no deal. And it was like just easy pickings.
For years, politicians ran for office, promising action to remedy these practices, only to do nothing but allow them to continue. And it was pillage.
As a candidate for President, I vowed strong action. It’s probably the biggest reason why I ran for President, because I saw it for so many years. And I said, “How come nobody is doing something about it?” In the meantime, immigration, and building our military — also important. But that’s probably the biggest reason.
In June of 2016, in the great state of Pennsylvania, I promised that I would use every lawful presidential power to protect Americans from unfair trade and unfair trade practices. Unlike those who came before me, I kept my promise. They didn’t promise too hard but — (applause) — they didn’t do anything. And I actually think I more than kept my promise.
Now our efforts have yielded a transformative deal that will bring tremendous benefits to both countries. We have a great relationship with China, we have a great relationship with the leadership of China, and China fully understands that there has to be a certain reciprocity. There has to be. It cannot continue like this. It would be dangerous for it to continue like it was.
The agreement we signed today includes groundbreaking provisions in an area of critical importance to the United States: protecting intellectual property. So the deal you’re seeing today is a much bigger deal than — we have it very much guarded. They asked one of our Democratic — Cryin’ Chuck Schumer — “What do you think of the deal?” — two weeks ago. He had no idea what the deal was. Never saw the deal; it’s totally guarded.
“I don’t like it. I don’t like the deal,” he said. “Well, have you seen it?” “Yeah, I think I know what…” “Well, why don’t you like it?” “Well, they took the tariffs off.” Actually, we didn’t. He didn’t know anything about the deal. He just said exactly what probably you should say, as a politician. “How do you like the deal?” “I don’t like the deal.” “Do you know the deal?” “Uh, uh, sort of.” He never saw the deal. He knew nothing about it. He would love the deal, but he can’t say it, because he’s on the other party. But maybe Patrick would do the same thing, right?
But you know what? I would say that you shouldn’t. This is an unbelievable deal for the United States. And, ultimately, it’s a great deal for both countries. And it’s going to also lead to even a more stable peace throughout the world.
China is helping us with North Korea. China is helping us with a lot of the things that they can be helping us with — which you don’t see in a deal, but they have been very, very helpful with respect to Kim Jong Un, who has great respect for President Xi.
And it’s all a very, very beautiful game of chess, or a game of poker, or — I can’t use the word “checkers” because it’s far greater than any checker game that I’ve ever seen. But it’s a very beautiful mosaic.
But China is giving us a lot of help, and we’re giving them a lot of help on things that we help them with. And one of the things that we are also talking about is fentanyl. And President Xi has already instituted very strong penalties and arrested large numbers of people who are sending fentanyl into our country. That never happened before. (Applause.)
So China has made substantial and enforceable commitments regarding the protection of American ideas, trade secrets, patents, and trademarks. This was not, according to most — they didn’t know we covered any of this. We’ve covered a lot of this. It’s phase one. But they’re doing many more things in phase one than anyone thought possible.
China has also pledged firm action to confront pirated and counterfeit goods, which is a big problem for many of the people in the room — the counterfeiting. We’ll make sure that this happens, and we have very, very strong protection.
In addition, the agreement addresses forced technology transfer policies that can require companies to give away their know-how and trade secrets. So now, when Boeing has some work done over in China or wants to sell planes over in China, they don’t have to give up every single thing that they’ve ever — you know, that they’ve worked so hard to — to develop and to come up with. Are you guys hearing that? You don’t have to give up anything anymore. Just be strong. Just be strong. Don’t let it happen. But you don’t have to do that.
It was a terrible — it was a terrible situation going on there. And a lot of it was because our co- — our companies, I have to say this, were very weak. You were very weak. You gave up things that you didn’t have to give up. But now, legally, you don’t have to give them up.
Under this deal, transfers and licensing of technology will be based on market terms that are fully voluntary and reflect mutual agreement.
Phase one will also see China greatly expand imports of the — to the United States. We want to buy a lot of their product inexpensively.