Bi­den slams Trump on trade

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD - DOINA CHIACU REUTERS

Demo­cratic U.S. pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Joe Bi­den crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump over trade poli­cies he said hurt farm­ers and choked the auto in­dus­try, as both 2020 White House can­di­dates visit the early vot­ing farm state of Iowa on Tues­day.

The Repub­li­can pres­i­dent’s trade war with China has crushed Amer­i­can farm­ers, with­out coun­ter­ing the chal­lenge that China’s poli­cies pose to the United States, Bi­den said in re­marks he planned to de­liver at a cam­paign stop in Daven­port, Iowa.

“He thinks he’s be­ing tough,” Bi­den said. “Well, it’s easy to be tough when some­one else is feel­ing the pain.”

Bi­den, who served for eight years as vice pres­i­dent un­der for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, will be in Iowa on the same day as Trump for the first time in the 2020 cam­paign cy­cle, of­fer­ing vot­ers an early peek at the po­ten­tial gen­eral elec­tion match-up be­tween the Demo­cratic fron­trun­ner and Repub­li­can in­cum­bent who is seeking a sec­ond four-year term.

The two men will be com­pet­ing for the same white, work­ing­class vot­ers in Iowa and else­where who helped Trump win the 2016 elec­tion. Iowa holds the first Demo­cratic nom­i­nat­ing con­test next Fe­bru­ary.

Bi­den said he hopes Trump’s pres­ence in Iowa along­side him on Tues­day would be “a clar­i­fy­ing event.” Trump is due to visit an ethanol plant in Coun­cil Bluffs on Tues­day be­fore de­liv­er­ing re­marks at an Iowa Repub­li­can Party din­ner in Des Moines. Bi­den is mak­ing a four-city swing over two days.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion last month un­veiled a $16 bil­lion farm aid pack­age to counter losses from a 10-month trade war with China. Amer­i­can farm­ers, a key Trump con­stituency, have been among the hardest hit in the trade war.

Trump’s tar­iffs on steel and other met­als have hit U.S. au­tomak­ers, who are also con­cerned that fu­ture tar­iffs could be im­posed on ev­ery­thing from critical tech­nolo­gies and com­po­nents to fully as­sem­bled ve­hi­cles.

Bi­den noted that Obama bailed out the U.S. auto in­dus­try after the 2008 fi­nan­cial col­lapse.

“Now I’m watch­ing Trump de­stroy the in­dus­try Pres­i­dent Obama and I helped save,” Bi­den said.

Bi­den, who leads a large field of con­tenders for the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, hit Trump hard on China, say­ing the pres­i­dent’s poli­cies will not be ef­fec­tive in the long-run against China’s grow­ing in­flu­ence and tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances.

He said China is building roads, bridges and high-speed rail, and po­si­tion­ing it­self to lead the world in re­new­able en­ergy, while Trump pur­sues a “dam­ag­ing and er­ratic trade war.”

“While Trump is tweet­ing, China is mak­ing mas­sive in­vest­ments in tech­nolo­gies of the fu­ture,” Bi­den said.

Trump promised this week to go ahead with a new round of tar­iffs on Chi­nese goods if no progress is made with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jing­ping at the G20 sum­mit later this month in Japan. Trump has said he ex­pects to meet with Xi, but the Chi­nese have de­clined to con­firm any sum­mit.

Bi­den called for more in­vest­ment in sci­en­tific re­search, in­fra­struc­ture and a mod­ern work force to help counter China, and to build a united front with al­lies to chal­lenge China’s “abu­sive be­hav­ior.”

BRIAN SNY­DER REUTERS

Demo­cratic 2020 U.S. pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and for­mer vice pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den tours the Ply­mouth Area Re­new­able En­ergy Ini­tia­tive in Ply­mouth, New Hampshire, on June 4. •

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