Will Trump Overhaul U.S. Trade Policy With China in 2018?

Wendy Cutler on NPR

Made in America Product Showcase

An image from the Made in America Product Showcase organized by The White House on July 17, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Evan Walker)

With President Donald Trump approaching his second year in office, Asia Society Policy Institute Vice President Wendy Cutler spoke with Ailsa Chang on NPR's "Morning Edition" about U.S. trade policy priorities vis-à-vis China.

The Trump administration made enforcement a cornerstone of its trade policy in 2017, specifically with respect to China. Cutler notes there is a “growing frustration within the United States that China is not operating on a level playing field.” U.S. companies feel as though they do not have “fair access” to China’s market, while Chinese companies can enter the U.S. market more freely. According to Cutler, one of the most pressing barriers to U.S. companies is China’s alleged forced technology transfer policies, whereby U.S. and foreign companies are required to share their technology as a condition for investing in China. 

On the domestic side of trade enforcement, Cutler explains that potential U.S. tariffs on Chinese manufactured goods — specifically solar panels and washing machines — would raise prices for U.S. consumers and could even induce China to retaliate with tariffs of its own. Such restrictions would harm U.S. exporters and their workers. Though the U.S. has legitimate concerns about China's trade practices, Cutler warns that, “no one wins in a trade war.” (3 min., 26 sec.)