US President Donald Trump said on August 6 that he “enjoyed Vietnamese leaders” because “they are very nice to us,” one year after he called Vietnam “the worst trade abuser.”
Speaking at the Whirlpool Group’s washing machine factory in Ohio on August 6, Mr. Trump mentioned the US company’s competitors moving their production lines to Vietnam and Thailand.
Last year, Trump accused Vietnam of being “the worst trade abuser” even worser than China amid a heightened trade war between the US and China. The US leader said that Vietnam was taking advantage of the trade war to boost exports to the US.
Since then, the Vietnamese government has made great efforts to reduce its trade surplus with the US, estimated at more than $ 40 billion, by importing more American goods.
During his two visits to Vietnam in late 2017 and early 2019, Mr. Trump both mentioned the trade issue between the two countries. These visits bring American businesses tens of billions of dollars worth of purchase agreements with Vietnamese partners. More than $20 billion of contracts were signed during the US president’s visit last February to Hanoi to attend a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The Vietnamese government is also “determined and acting drastically” in combating origin fraud and trade fraud, a move welcomed by President Trump.
“Thailand and Vietnam, two places where I really like local leaders,” Trump said in his speech in Ohio, posted in full text on the White House website. “They are very nice to us.”
Mr. Trump did not give details about why he liked the leaders of Vietnam and Thailand nor how good “they” are to the US in his one-hour speech at Whirlpool’s factory, in which he stated that the group’s foreign competitors, such as Samsung and LG, “moved their factories to block a level playing field, and to avoid liability, move production to Thailand and Vietnam.“
In June 2019, before harshly criticizing Vietnam on trade, he called Vietnam a “bad” trading partner when he made comments that seemed to praise “they negotiated very well. They do very well.”
“Are they taking advantage of the US?” Trump said on August 6, 2020, while visiting the Whirlpool factory. “Not much anymore.”
His visit and speech in Ohio were part of Trump’s presidential campaign, in which he focused on policies to bring jobs back to the US and reduce trade surpluses with many countries around the world having business relationship with the US.
Whirlpool’s factory is a symbol of the domestic manufacturing hopes Mr. Trump has put in place since his first presidential campaign in 2016. In a speech in Ohio, Mr. Trump promised that nine homes Whirlpool machines across the US “will quickly grow like never before.”
The US taxes up to 456% on steel imported from Vietnam.
The US Department of Commerce (DOC) in December 2019 announced the final conclusion of the investigation to evade anti-dumping and countervailing measures with cold rolled steel (CRS) and corrosion resistant steel (CORE) of Vietnam produced from materials imported from Korea and Taiwan.
CR and CORE steel shipments from Vietnam that do not prove the origin of the hot rolled steel material are subject to a tax rate of up to 456%, equivalent to the tax rate imposed by the US on Chinese steel.
Previously, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade also warned that 12 export products of Vietnam were at risk of being investigated by the US in the first quarter of 2020 because of suspicion of origin fraud.
President Trump commended Xi and China
President Trump has also repeatedly praised Chinese President Xi Jinping when the trade war was at its peak as well as when the new outbreak of Coronavirus broke out in China.
In mid-August of last year, when the violent protests and repression in Hong Kong reached their peak and the trade war was straining, Mr. Trump unexpectedly praised President Xi Jin’s leadership, expressing his belief that Xi would “quickly and humanely” solve the Hongkong problem.
Bloomberg reported that President Trump praised President Xi Jinping as “a great leader” who wanted to solve the Hongkong problem “quickly and humanely.”
The tweet of Mr. Trump dated August 14, 2019, stated: “I know President Xi Jinping very well. He is a great leader and has received the respect of the Chinese people. I have no doubt that if President Xi wants to solve the Hongkong problem quickly and humanly, he will be able to do it.”
The President of the United States ended his Twitter post with the words “Private meeting?” without clarifying whether he is proposing a summit with Mr. Xi.
In a tweet shortly before, Trump wrote that “of course China wants to sign a trade deal. Let them do humanitarian work with Hongkong first!”
In addition, he also stated that the decision to move the tariff limit on China until December “actually helps China more than the US … Millions of jobs are ‘running’ from China” to other countries not subject to the taxes.”
Towards the end of August 2019, President Donald Trump continued to praise Chinese President Xi Jinping amid escalating tensions in the trade war.
“Very respectful of President Xi Jinping and his representatives wanting a ‘calm solution.’ It is impressed when they are willing to show up and make such precise claims.
That is why he is a great leader and represents a great country. Negotiations are ongoing,” President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on August 26, 2019.
In addition to the comments on Twitter, President Trump also gave praise to the President of China when he met the G7 leaders in France.
“They want a calm, frankly wonderful thing. One of the reasons he, President Xi, is a great leader, and one of the reasons China is a great country, is because they understand how life works. China called my senior officials last night and said to go back to the negotiating table. So we are back to the negotiating table,” President Trump said in France on Aug 26, 2019.
The statements of the White House boss were made after Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He, who led China’s trade negotiations with the US, suddenly “softened” with Washington. China is ready to settle its trade dispute with the US through “calm” negotiations and opposes the two countries’ escalation of tensions, Liu said.
According to Trump, trade talks between the US and China are at the most appropriate moment. When asked if he could postpone tariffs on Chinese goods, President Trump said “anything can happen.”
Mr. Trump said that China is suffering “heavy” and going back to the negotiating table is “should do.”
“I think we’ll have an agreement soon. They have incredibly complex supply chains and everyone is leaving, to other countries, including the US, we are about to welcome a lot of people,” Trump stressed.
On January 25, 2020, when a new outbreak of Covid-19 broke out in China, US President Donald Trump also expressed praise to Chinese President Xi Jinping for his efforts to react quickly to the outbreak.
“China has been working very hard to control the coronavirus. Everything will be going well,” Mr. Trump said.
President Trump also thanked his Chinese counterpart for Beijing actively preventing the coronavirus by restricting travel in 10 cities with about 20 million people.
“Washington appreciates Beijing’s efforts and transparency. In particular, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi!”
Now, however, China is getting in trouble before President Trump’s consecutive attacks in many ways, even the US wants to draw the world against China after what the Covid-19 took its effects as well as China’s aggressive attitudes during the pandemic against India, Taiwan as well as other countries in the South China Sea.