‘Fake news’ about China dents cred­i­bil­ity of US

Global Times US Edition - - BIZCOMMENT - By Hu Wei­jia

As US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lev­els ac­cu­sa­tions of “fake news” and stirs up dis­trust of the me­dia, he also keeps mak­ing mis­takes when it comes to eco­nomic data and con­tin­ues a trade war with China based on “fake” fig­ures.

Trump was quoted by the Wash­ing­ton Post and the New York Times as say­ing that “We have never taken in 10 cents from China. We would lose $500 bil­lion a year with China.” It isn’t the first time such fig­ures were men­tioned by Trump. Ac­cord­ing to a post on the White House web­site on May 9, Trump said “we’re the pig­gy­bank that ev­ery­body steals from, in­clud­ing China. We’ve been pay­ing China $500 bil­lion a year for many, many years.”

Ac­cord­ing to data from the Of­fice of the US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the US goods and ser­vices trade deficit with China was $378.6 bil­lion in 2018. Chi­nese cus­toms statis­tics showed the US trade deficit with China was $323 bil­lion last year. The fig­ure of $500 bil­lion is quite dif­fer­ent from the of­fi­cial fig­ures when it comes to the US trade deficit with China.

What’s more, data com­piled by Factcheck.org show the US col­lected more than $10 bil­lion in cus­toms du­ties on Chi­nese im­ports each year from 2010 to 2018. It is un­rea­son­able to say the US has “never taken in 10 cents from China.”

Trump may need a factcheck of his re­marks be­fore de­liv­er­ing speeches, post­ing tweets or rolling out poli­cies.

Trump for­mally launched his re-elec­tion cam­paign with a rally on Tues­day in Florida. The Amer­i­can peo­ple need to fig­ure out whether the pres­i­dent will rely on false fig­ures or claims to “Keep Amer­ica Great.”

False claims made by a pres­i­dent can do noth­ing but affect the im­age of a coun­try. Trump has more than once ac­cused China of ma­nip­u­lat­ing its cur­rency, but the US Trea­sury in May again de­cided not to la­bel China as a cur­rency ma­nip­u­la­tor. Trump ac­cuses China but doesn’t even have the ev­i­dence to per­suade of­fi­cials in his gov­ern­ment. With the US econ­omy mired in mul­ti­ple hid­den per­ils amid trade ten­sions, it is ad­vised that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion not re­sort to ex­treme re­pres­sion for the sake of win­ning re-elec­tion. The only way out is to get back on track to re­store trade ties with China. The au­thor is a re­porter with the Global Times. bi­zopin­[email protected] glob­al­times.com.cn

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