The U.S. negotiator who worked on the original North American Free Trade Agreement says that despite Trump’s suggestions, he will not likely terminate the deal anytime soon.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger took issue with one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets today. (Adam Carter/CBC)
Ambassador Carla Hills was George H.W. Bush’s trade representative presiding over the initial talks in the early 90’s. She told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics she has been assured by people close to Trump that his threat was actually referring to a mechanism that could be enacted five years from now, after an assessment had been made into whether all three parties had met their commitments.
“Let’s hope that’s what he intended,” she told host Rosemary Barton. “It’s a better interpretation than an ending of the agreement when our economies are so closely linked and we have so many jobs that are dependent.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens similarly responded to trump on Twitter, saying, “35 of 50 States call Canada their # 1 customer. I look forward to hearing the position of elected officials from those states.”
WASHINGTON — Faith in American leadership has plunged in many nations around the world in the months since President Trump took office, according to a new survey, underscoring the challenges facing the new president as he prepares to make his second overseas trip next week.
Just 22 percent of those interviewed outside the United States expressed confidence in Mr. Trump to do the right thing, compared with 64 percent who had similar confidence in the late stages of President Barack Obama’s administration, according to the Pew Research Center. In only two of 37 countries in the survey did Mr. Trump fare better than Mr. Obama: Russia and Israel.
“Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined
steeply in many nations,” the center said in a report released on Monday. “The sharp decline in how much global publics trust the U.S. president on the world stage is especially pronounced among some of America’s closest allies in Europe and Asia, as well as neighboring Mexico and Canada.”
The findings come despite concerted efforts by Mr. Trump to build relationships with world leaders. On Monday, he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India at the White House and he is scheduled to host President Moon Jae-in of South Korea for a two-day visit starting on Thursday. As president, he has brought the leaders of China and Japan to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and telephoned other world leaders dozens of times.
Next week, Mr. Trump heads to Europe to visit Poland and attend a meeting of the Group of 20 world powers in Hamburg, Germany, where he may also sit down with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for the first time since taking office.
Mr. Trump’s first international trip, last month, won him praise from Arab and Israeli leaders in the Middle East but alienated America’s traditional allies in Europe over issues like trade, climate change and the role of NATO.
Shortly after returning to Washington, he drove a further wedge between himself and the international community when he announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord negotiated by Mr. Obama. Every other nation in the world belongs to the pact except Nicaragua, which argued that it did not go far enough, and Syria, which is consumed by civil war. And only after his return did Mr. Trump grudgingly affirm support for NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense provision, stating that an attack on one member was an attack on all.
It may come as little surprise that a president espousing an “America first” approach to the world would not be viewed favorably outside its borders, and many of Mr. Trump’s supporters are unlikely to be bothered by that — indeed, they may see it as proof that he is tending to their needs, not those of foreigners. One of Mr. Trump’s central themes both as a candidate and as president is that America has been treated unfairly by other countries, whether it be in economics, security arrangements or agreements like the Paris accord.
In that vein, he has been willing to advance policies that he argues reflect American interests even at the cost of complaints from abroad, including travel restrictions on selected predominantly Muslim countries that were partially restored by the Supreme Court on Monday, construction of a wall along the Mexican border, and withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement with Asia.
“My job is not to represent the world,” Mr. Trump said in an address to a joint session of Congress in February. “My job is to represent the United States of America.”
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Some of those policies generate broad criticism overseas. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed by Pew disapproved of the travel restrictions and more than 70 percent opposed the United States’ withdrawing from major trade and climate change agreements. Ninety-four percent of those interviewed in Mexico opposed Mr. Trump’s proposal for a border wall.
But it is not just his specific policy agenda that creates antipathy in other countries. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed described Mr. Trump as arrogant, 65 percent called him intolerant and 62 percent said he was dangerous. Still, in a metric that may appeal to Mr. Trump, 55 percent characterized him as a strong leader.
Despite the eroding belief in its president, the United States itself and its people and culture still retained support around the world. Majorities expressed favorable views of Americans; their music, movies and television shows; and their traditions of personal freedom, although feelings were mixed about American ideas about democracy.
The collapse in confidence in the president echoed that of the last phase of President George W. Bush’s tenure, when the Iraq war and the global financial crisis had sapped international faith in American leadership.
The falling support was most pronounced among longtime American friends. While 93 percent in Sweden had faith in Mr. Obama to do the right thing, only 10 percent had such confidence in Mr. Trump, a drop of 83 percentage points. The drop was also large in Germany and the Netherlands (75 percentage points), South Korea (71 points), France (70 points), Spain (68 points) and Britain (57 points).
In Mexico, only 5 percent expressed positive feelings about Mr. Trump, the least in any of the 37 countries. In Canada, confidence in the president fell from 83 percent to 22 percent, the lowest it has been in the 15 years that the survey has been conducted. In addition to the border wall, Mr. Trump’s threat to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement unless it is renegotiated to his liking has soured America’s closest neighbors.
The only two places where Mr. Trump bested Mr. Obama were Israel, where 56 percent expressed faith in the current president, a seven-point rise, and Russia, where 53 percent gave Mr. Trump high marks, a 42-point rise.
The global attitudes survey, which has been conducted since 2002, surveyed 40,447 respondents from Feb. 16 to May 8.
Mountain bikers stop to look at icebergs drifting off the coast of Ferryland, Newfoundland, on Tuesday.
A large iceberg is grounded off Canada’s East coast
Tourists are flocking to the town of Ferryland to get pictures of the iceberg
(CNN)Canada’s “Iceberg Alley” is living up to its name this spring, and tourists are flocking to the town of Ferryland to see the behemoth that has grounded just off shore.
The iceberg towers over the picturesque town, which is about an hour south of St. John’s on the east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canadian Ice Service classified it as “large,” which means it has a height of 151-240 feet and is between 401 and 670 feet long.
Kaelam Power went mountain biking along the coast on Tuesday and paused to take pictures of the iceberg.
“It’s quite powerful to see,” he said. “You hear the waves crashing against the water line. From time to time, you may hear a cracking or banging sound.
Photographer Jody Martin braved the crowds on Easter Sunday to see the iceberg.
“It was a beautiful day and a lot of happy faces,” she said. “Everyone seems to enjoy the beauty of the huge iceberg.”
Martin plans to go back soon to try to get some night images.
Iceberg season runs from spring through late summer and the waters start to refreeze in mid-September. A combination of currents bring Arctic ice southward along the Newfoundland coast, which is how it earned the “Iceberg Alley” nickname.
CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller said it’s rare to have an iceberg this large so close to the shore.
(TORONTO) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government introduced legislation Thursday to let adults possess 30 grams of marijuana in public — a measure that would make Canada the largest developed country to end a nationwide prohibition on recreational marijuana.
Trudeau has long promised to legalize recreational pot use and sales. U.S voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted last year to approve the use of recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
The South American nation of Uruguay is the only nation to legalize recreational pot.
The proposed law allows four plants to be grown at home. Those under 18 found with less than five grams of marijuana would not face criminal charges but those who sell it or give to youth could face up to 14 years in jail.
“It’s too easy for our kids to get marijuana. We’re going to change that,” Trudeau said.
Officials said Canadians should be able to smoke marijuana legally by July 1, 2018. The federal government set the age at 18, but is allowing each of Canada’s provinces to determine if it should be higher. The provinces will also decide how the drug will be distributed and sold. The law also defines the amount of THC in a driver’s blood, as detected by a roadside saliva test, that would be illegal. Marijuana taxes will be announced at a later date.
The Canadian government closely followed the advice of a marijuana task force headed by former Liberal Health Minister Anne McLellan. That panel’s report noted public health experts tend to favor a minimum age of 21 as the brain continues to develop to about 25, but said setting the minimum age too high would preserve the illicit market.
Canadian youth have higher rates of cannabis use than their peers worldwide.
“If your objective is to protect public health and safety and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors, and stop the flow of profits to organized crime, then the law as it stands today has been an abject failure,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told a news conference. “Police forces spend between $2 billion and $3 billion every year trying to deal with cannabis, and yet Canadian teenagers are among the heaviest users in the western world … We simply have to do better.”
Goodale said they’ve been close touch with the U.S. government on the proposed law and noted exporting and importing marijuana will continue to be illegal.
“The regime we are setting up in Canada will protect our kids better and stop the flow of illegal dollars to organized crime. Our system will actually be the better one,” Goodale said.
But Christina Grant, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Ontario, worries the government is conveying the message that marijuana is not harmful. She fears usage will go up because concerns about its safety will dissipate.
“One in seven youths who have used cannabis will develop an addiction to cannabis and that impacts your life, schooling, job prospects, social and emotional relationships,” she said. “And there is the risk of developing psychosis if you start using cannabis as a teenager. The more you use and the younger you start, you have up to four times the risk of developing some kind of psychotic illness.”
Former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who is the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, said officials learned from the experiences from other jurisdictions like Colorado and Washington state.
While the government moves to legalize marijuana, retail outlets selling pot for recreational use have already been set up. Trudeau has emphasized current laws should be respected. Police in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities raided stores earlier last month and made arrests.
The news that Canada was soon going to announce the law was noticed online last month by Snoop Dogg , who tweeted “Oh Canada!” Canadian folk singer Pat Robitaille released a “Weed song” to coincide with the government’s announcement.
(TORONTO) — Canadians should be able to smoke marijuana legally by July 1, 2018, a senior government official said Monday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will introduce legislation to legalize recreational marijuana the week of April 10th and it should become law by July next year, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to lack of authorization to discuss the upcoming legislation.
Trudeau has long promised to legalize recreational pot use and sales. Canada would be the largest developed country to end a nationwide prohibition of recreational marijuana. In the U.S, voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted last year to approve the use of recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Uruguay in South America is the only nation to legalize recreational pot.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould declined to confirm the dates provided by the official, but said in a statement the government is committed to introducing legislation this spring that would “legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis.”
“This will be done in a careful way to keep it out of the hands of children and youth, and to stop criminals from profiting,” the statement said. “In order to meet our commitment to legalize, the legislation will need to pass through the parliamentary process in a timely fashion.”
The news was noticed online by Snoop Dogg , who tweeted “Oh Canada!”
The Canadian government is expected to follow the advice of a marijuana task force headed by former Liberal Health Minister Anne McLellan as well as the advice of former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who is the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister. Blair has been visiting police departments across the country.
The task force recommended adults be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of pot for recreational purpose and grow up to four plants. It also recommended that higher-potency pot be taxed at a higher rate than weaker strains. It also said recreational marijuana should not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco. Under the task force proposals, alcohol-free cannabis lounges would be allowed.
The panel’s report noted public health experts tend to favor a minimum age of 21 as the brain continues to develop to about 25, but said setting the minimum age too high would preserve the illicit market.
Canadian youth have higher rates of cannabis use than their peers worldwide.
While the government moves to legalize marijuana retail outlets selling pot for recreational use have already been set up. Trudeau has emphasized current laws should be respected. Police in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities raided stores earlier this month and made arrests.
This afternoon in London England there was another ‘terrorist incident’, this time just outside the entrance to their Parliament Building. The last I heard before I started this commentary there are four dead and about 20 wounded. One of the dead is the attacker, another is a Police Officer. The other two dead people were killed by being driven over by the attacker. What a typical example of ones hate being forced upon others lives. Folks, when a person chooses to murder someone, do you think they are doing this because they are ‘happy’ with the one they decide to kill? I tend to think, no, how about you? Killing other people, outside of contract obligations such as when you are in your Nation’s Military, or in the case of self-defence, murder is usually done through or because of hate. So, today the actions of one man ended the lives of three others and harmed and scarred many others. One man’s actions caused a lot of chain reactions not just in heroic goodness of some, but in the actions of the Press there in London informing we the people of the events, step by step. Yes they did a rather good job of informing me of the steps that (England’s) has in place that security protocol is designed to function within. In this case a person filled with hate could best figure out where to form a multi-tiered attack. Think of the pure hate concept of bringing an ambulance to a bomb or mass shooting location, filled with C-4 just so you can kill as many First Responders as you possibly can. Folks, this is not the way of a rational mind, nor of a God! It is not a mind filled with any form of morality, it is a mind filled with Evil, hate. When we humans decide to degrade other human beings to a ‘less than’ human status it becomes easier and easier to degrade, hurt or even kill them.
Friends this type of hate that we witnessed this afternoon in London is not just a hiccup in human history that we are living in, this is the reality for humans for ever more. Europe is being forced to deal with this hatred toward their own people and toward their own cultures. Here in the U.S. we have suffered several examples of hatred also toward our people and our chosen ways of life. Yet Europe and her people are a tender underbelly to a region full of hatred, for you and your way of life. I believe that the U.S. and all of the ‘America’s’ are just starting to see the damage caused by hatred. The olden days (our version of the good old days), they’re gone, they are not going to return, but why not? The answer is hatred folks. Hatred has a great helpmate which also causes so much heartache and that is ignorance. No one on this planet will ever have a totally unmonitored lifestyle again, nor will we ever be free of people hating you/us. Welcome to the new world everyone, the one filled with unending security measures brought on because of threats that are real or imagined. You see, fear caused by hatred can easily be duplicated in the one who fears as a way to grow into another hate filled, ignorant, Satan serving beast. A person who is hate filled creates and early grave for themselves and those around them, and a footstool in Hell.
American Citizens: U.S. Border Agents Can Search Your Cellphone
byCYNTHIA MCFADDEN, E.D. CAUCHI, WILLIAM M. ARKINandKEVIN MONAHAN
When Buffalo, New York couple Akram Shibly and Kelly McCormick returned to the U.S. from a trip to Toronto on Jan. 1, 2017, U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers held them for two hours, took their cellphones and demanded their passwords.
“It just felt like a gross violation of our rights,” said Shibly, a 23-year-old filmmaker born and raised in New York. But he and McCormick complied, and their phones were searched.
Three days later, they returned from another trip to Canada and were stopped again by CBP.
“One of the officers calls out to me and says, ‘Hey, give me your phone,'” recalled Shibly. “And I said, ‘No, because I already went through this.'”
The officer asked a second time.
Watch Cynthia McFadden on Nightly News for More
Within seconds, he was surrounded: one man held his legs, another squeezed his throat from behind. A third reached into his pocket, pulling out his phone. McCormick watched her boyfriend’s face turn red as the officer’s chokehold tightened.
Then they asked McCormick for her phone.
“I was not about to get tackled,” she said. She handed it over.
Shibly and McCormick’s experience is not unique. In 25 cases examined by NBC News, American citizens said that CBP officers at airports and border crossings demanded that they hand over their phones and their passwords, or unlock them.
The travelers came from across the nation, naturalized citizens and people born and raised on American soil. They traveled by plane and by car at different times through different states. Businessmen, couples, senior citizens, and families with young kids, questioned, searched, and detained for hours when they tried to enter or leave the U.S. None were on terror watchlists. One had a speeding ticket. Some were asked about their religion and their ethnic origins, and had the validity of their U.S. citizenship questioned
What most of them have in common — 23 of the 25 — is that they are Muslim, like Shibly, whose parents are from Syria.
Data provided by the Department of Homeland Security shows that searches of cellphones by border agents has exploded, growing fivefold in just one year, from fewer than 5,000 in 2015 to nearly 25,000 in 2016.
According to DHS officials, 2017 will be a blockbuster year. Five-thousand devices were searched in February alone, more than in all of 2015.
“That’s shocking,” said Mary Ellen Callahan, former chief privacy officer at the Department of Homeland Security. She wrote the rules and restrictions on how CBP should conduct electronic searches back in 2009. “That [increase] was clearly a conscious strategy, that’s not happenstance.”
“This really puts at risk both the security and liberty of the American people,” said Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon. “Law abiding Americans are being caught up in this digital dragnet.”
“This is just going to grow and grow and grow,” said Senator Wyden. “There’s tremendous potential for abuse here.”
What CBP agents call “detaining” cellphones didn’t start after Donald Trump’s election. The practice began a decade ago, late in the George W. Bush administration, but was highly focused on specific individuals.
The more aggressive tactics of the past two years, two senior intelligence officials told NBC News, were sparked by a string of domestic incidents in 2015 and 2016 in which the watch list system and the FBI failed to stop American citizens from conducting attacks. The searches also reflect new abilities to extract contact lists, travel patterns and other data from phones very quickly.
But the officials caution that rhetoric about a Muslim registry and ban during the presidential campaign also seems to have emboldened federal agents to act more forcefully.
“The shackles are off,” said Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project. “We see individual officers and perhaps supervisors as well pushing those limits, exceeding their authority and violating people’s rights.”
And multiple sources told NBC News that law enforcement and the Intelligence Community are exploiting a loophole to collect intelligence.
Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement needs at least reasonable suspicion if they want to search people or their possessions within the United States. But not at border crossings, and not at airport terminals.
“The Fourth Amendment, even for U.S. citizens, doesn’t apply at the border,” said Callahan. “That’s under case law that goes back 150 years.”
Customs and Border officers can search travelers without any level of suspicion. They have the legal authority to go through any object crossing the border within 100 miles, including smartphones and laptops. They have the right to take devices away from travelers for five days without providing justification. In the absence of probable cause, however, they have to give the devices back.
CBP also searches people on behalf of other federal law enforcement agencies, sending its findings back to partners in the DEA, FBI, Treasury and the National Counterterrorism Center, among others.
Callahan thinks that CBP’s spike in searches means it is exploiting the loophole “in order to get information they otherwise might hot have been able to.”
On January 31, an engineer from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was pulled into additional screening upon his return to the U.S. after a two-week vacation in Chile. Despite being cleared by the Global Entry program, Sidd Bikkannavar received an “X” on his customs form. He is not Muslim, and he is not from any of the seven countries named in President Trump’s original “travel ban” executive order. Half his family comes from India but he was born and raised in California.
Bikkannavar was brought into a closed room and told to hand over his phone and passcode. He paid particular notice to the form CBP handed him which explained it had the right to copy the contents of the phone, and that the penalty for refusal was “detention.”
“I didn’t know if that meant detention of the phone or me and I didn’t want to find out,” said Bikkannavar. He tried to refuse but the officer repeatedly demanded the PIN. Eventually he acquiesced.
“Once they had that, they had everything,” Bikkannavar said. That access allowed CBP officers to review the backend of his social media accounts, work emails, call and text history, photos and other apps. He had expected security might physically search any travelers for potential weapons but accessing his digital data felt different. “Your whole digital life is on your phone.”
The officers disappeared with his phone and PIN. They returned 30 minutes later and let him go home.Sidd Bikkannavar poses for a portrait in 2014. Takashi Akaishi
CBP also regularly searches people leaving the country.
On February 9, Haisam Elsharkawi was stopped by security while trying to board his flight out of Los Angeles International Airport. He said that six Customs officers told him he was randomly selected. They demanded access to his phone and when he refused, Elsharkawi said they handcuffed him, locked him in the airport’s lower level and asked questions including how he became a citizen. Elsharkawi thought he knew his rights and demanded access to legal counsel.
“They said if I need a lawyer, then I must be guilty of something,” said Elsharkawi, and Egyptian-born Muslim and naturalized U.S. citizen. After four hours of questioning in detention, he unlocked his smartphone and, after a search, was eventually released. Elsharkawi said he intends to sue the Department of Homeland Security.
The current policy has not been updated since 2009. Jayson Ahern, who served in CBP under both Bush and Obama, signed off on the current policy. He said the electronic searches are supposed to be based on specific, articulable facts that raise security concerns. They are not meant to be random or routine or applied liberally to border crossers. “That’s reckless and that’s how you would lose the authority, never mind the policy.”
The Customs & Border Patrol policy manual says that electronic devices fall under the same extended search doctrine that allows them to scan bags in the typical security line.
“As the threat landscape changes, so does CBP,” a spokesperson told NBC News.
Since the policy was written in 2009, legal advocates argue, several court cases have set new precedents that could make some CBP electronic searches illegal.
Several former DHS officials pointed to a 2014 Supreme Court ruling in Riley v California that determined law enforcement needed a warrant to search electronic devices when a person is being arrested. The court ruled unanimously, and Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion.
“Modern cellphones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life,'” wrote Roberts. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.”
Because that case happened outside of the border context, however, CBP lawyers have repeatedly asserted in court that the ruling does not apply to border searches.
For now a Department of Justice internal bulletin has instructed that, unless border officers have a search warrant, they need to take protective measures to limit intrusions, and make sure their searches do not access travelers’ digital cloud data. The ‘cloud’ is all content not directly stored on a device, which includes anything requiring internet to access, like email and social media.
Former DHS officials who helped design and implement the search policy said they agreed with that guidance.
Wyden Pushes to Change the Policy
On February 20, Sen. Wyden wrote to DHS Secretary John Kelly demanding details on electronic search-practices used on U.S. citizens, and referred to the extent of electronic searches as government “overreach”. As of publication, he had yet to receive an answer.
Now Sen. Wyden says that as early as next week he plans to propose a bill that would require CBP to at least obtain a warrant to search electronics of U.S. citizens, and explicitly prevent officers from demanding passwords.
“The old rules … seem to be on the way to being tossed in the garbage can,” said Senator Wyden. “I think it is time to update the law.”
Asked about the Shibly case, a CBP spokesperson declined to comment, but said the Homeland Security Inspector General is investigating. The spokesperson said the agency can’t comment on open investigations or particular travelers, but that it “firmly denies any accusations of racially profiling travelers based on nationality, race, sex, religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs.”
Explaining the sharp increase in electronic searches, a department spokesperson told NBC News: “CBP has adapted and adjusted to align with current threat information, which is based on intelligence.” A spokesman also noted that searches of citizens leaving the U.S. protect against the theft of American industrial and national security secrets.
After repeated communications, the Department of Homeland Security never responded to NBC News’ requests for comments. Nonetheless, the Homeland Security Inspector General is currently auditing CBP’s electronic search practices.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also has filed two dozen complaints against CBP this year for issues profiling Muslim Americans. CAIR and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are considering legal action against the government for what they consider to be unconstitutional searches at the border.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)
A potential trade war should not be used as an “option” to spoil Chinese-American relations as the two countries are able to resolve bilateral trade disputes through dialogue, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said yesterday.
China and the United States, the world’s largest traders, should work together to promote trade and investment, said Gao, speaking at a briefing in Beijing.
A good relationship between the two countries not only benefits both sides but helps global economic growth and recovery amid a still weak momentum, Gao said.
US President Donald Trump pledged during his election campaign to raise import duties on Chinese goods to 40 percent but he has yet to take formal action. He also said he would declare China an “exchange rate manipulator.”
However, in a phone conversation earlier this month to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said that the United States was ready to work with China to take bilateral ties to new historic heights.
Gao said yesterday China would not comment too much on what the US president said during his election campaign, but would focus on the new American government’s attitude toward trade with China.
“As a consensus reached between leaders of the two countries, cooperation was the only right choice for China and the US,” Gao said.
Whatever changes in the US policy toward China, the trade relations between the two nations will eventually return to “the track of mutual benefits and win-win,” he said.
China is now America’s largest trading partner and its third largest export destination after Canada and Mexico, according to a report from the US-China Business Council.
China’s direct investment in America hit a record high of US$45 billion in 2016, a threefold increase on 2015.
Robust bilateral trade and investment have supported some 2.6 million jobs in the US, according to the report.
“A trade war should not become an option,” Gao said. “If the two sides fight, both will be hurt.”
The US last year replaced China as the world’s largest trader as China’s foreign trade declined.
Gao yesterday said China would not seek a “blind expansion in exports‚“ as it could undermine the country’s resources and environment.
China would instead gain new grounds through improved standards, techniques, brands and services.
Addressing China’s tightening inspection on outbound investment since late last year, Gao said measures were being taken to control irrational and blind outbound investment, where companies made huge investment into high risk areas and fields unrelated to their core businesses.
The commerce minister said the government would guide companies to make more prudent and rational outbound investment while improving rules to facilitate outbound investment and protect the rights of investors.
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