Washington: US President Donald Trump is set to take more actions against Chinese products as he strongly believes that American businesses have been "ripped off" by foreign trade competitors, the White House said today.
The US has some USD 500 billion trade deficit with China. Ever since coming to power, Trump has sought to reduce this trade deficit which he says is mainly due to the unfair trade practices of China.
"His goal is free, fair, and reciprocal trade agreements in which other countries grant American products and American exports just as much access as we grant to their products and their imports into the US. He's going to be pushing for that, and there could be additional actions," White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters in a gaggle abroad Air Force One.
Shah was responding to a question on media reports that the Trump administration was working to increase import tariff on a number of Chinese products.
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representatives, China is currently US' largest goods trading partner with USD 578.2 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016.
Early this month Trump imposed a 25 per cent tariff on import of steel and another 10 per cent on aluminium.
"The president campaigned on, believes in strongly, that American workers and American businesses have been ripped off by foreign trade competitors and partners in the past, and he wants to level the playing field," Shah said.
Meanwhile, Florida Senator Marco Rubio urged the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labour and Pensions (HELP) to include language in the upcoming Higher Education Reauthorization Act to address Chinese government-run programmes known as 'Confucius Institutes'.
He urged the committee to make it harder for China to evade reporting requirements for any money it gives to US colleges and universities and to "require colleges and universities to choose between federal funding and Confucius Institute-related funding from the Chinese government".
"Confucius Institutes are Chinese government-run programs that use the teaching of Chinese language and culture as a tool to expand the political influence of the PRC," he said.
There are presently more than 100 Confucius Institutes, in addition to Confucius Classrooms at the K-12 level in the US.
Meanwhile, Trump's key adviser on the administration's "America first" economic policies also said that the next step in US trade policy is addressing intellectual property theft by China, Fox News reported.
"The next thing on the chess board really is to deal with something Lou that you've been talking for years, China's stealing our technology but also more subtly, the force technology transfer," White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro said.
US businesses have been "abused" by China and forced to give up their technology in order to enter the Asian market, according to Navarro.
"We are going to move forward with some recommendations for the president. And I tell you what, there is nobody who is going to oppose that in this country," he said.