The Trump administration has previously claimed that the tariffs on China were necessary to curb Beijing’s unfair trading practices and intellectual property theft. The United States trade representative reiterated those claims Tuesday on the heels of the WTO’s decision. Nearly a year ago, in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, President Donald Trump argued that the Geneva-based WTO needs “drastic change” to counter cheating from China and other nations.
“For years these abuses were tolerated, ignored or even encouraged,” Trump said in September 2019. He also said that the United States will not accept a “bad deal” in trade talks with China and that he did not need a deal before the 2020 election. “Hopefully we can reach an agreement that will be beneficial for both countries. But as I have made very clear I will not accept a bad deal for the American people,” Trump said, prompting no reaction from the Chinese delegation watching.