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President Donald Trump Delivers Remarks on The United States- Mexico-Canada Agreement. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired October 1, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This deal will also impose new standards requiring at least 75 percent of every automobile to be made in North America in order to qualify for the privilege of free access to our markets. And that's what it is, it's a privilege. We don't take it as a privilege. We don't take it as a privilege. It's a privilege for them to do business with us.
And I am not talking about Mexico. I'm talking about everybody -- everybody. It's a privilege for China to do business with us. It's a privilege for the European Union, who has treated us very badly, but that's coming along, to do business with us. Japan, every country, it's a privilege for them to come in and attack the piggy bank.
In this, we will have a result of much more happening right here in the United States. It means, more than anything else, far more American jobs. And these are high-quality jobs.
There are also strong provisions to enforce what's called the rules of origin requirements. This will incentivize billions of dollars in new purchases of U.S.-made automobiles.
Once approved, this will be a new dawn for the American auto industry and for the American autoworker. They will see. They understand. They voted for us in large numbers, even though their leadership always goes Democrat. Couple of them said to me, "I don't know how I can do it again."
Many of them, the leaders would back Democrats and would tell me, "You're going to get most of the votes from union workers." And we got most of the votes from workers, period.
But the American autoworker was very much behind what we were doing.
As one primary aspect, it will transform North America back into a manufacturing powerhouse. If you remember the previous administration said we're not going to have manufacturing jobs anymore, essentially. We're not going to have -- we're not going to make things anymore?
No, just the opposite. Going to be a manufacturing powerhouse and allow us to reclaim a supply chain that has been offshored to the world because of unfair trade issues.
We also provide brand-new intellectual property protections for biologic drugs, which will make North America a haven for medical innovation and development. We want our drugs to be made here. When you talk prescription drugs, we don't like getting them from foreign countries. We don't know what's happening with those drugs, how they're being made. Too important.
This landmark agreement will send cash and jobs pouring into the United States and into North American. Good for Canada, good for Mexico. Instead of jobs leaving for overseas, they will be returning back home.
And we've already had it. We have many, many car companies -- I was with Prime Minister Abe of Japan. He said, "We have sent many car companies to the United States over the last year and a half." It's true, had big expansions. And very importantly, he said, "Many more are coming," because they have an incentive now to be here.
People want to be back in the United States again. As I say, the United States is respected again. But it's also respected as to trade and industry.
This is a truly extraordinary agreement for the United States, Canada and Mexico.
President Pena Nieto -- it's so important that the president and I have developed this sort of a bond. A bond on trade.
Pena Nieto, a man that has done a very good job for Mexico in terms of trade, and Prime Minister Trudeau, who I just spoke to; just spoke to both of them a little while ago, they love their countries. They want to do right for the countries, and that's what they've done.
And we've really formed -- if you look at this agreement, we formed a great partnership with Mexico and with Canada.
And I plan to sign the agreement by the end of November. I then will submit it for approval to Congress, where, in theory, there should be no trouble, but anything you submit to Congress is trouble, no matter what.
It's the single greatest agreement ever signed, they'll say, "Well, you know, Trump likes it, therefore we're not going to approve it because that would be good for the Republicans, so therefore we can't approve it."
But it will be sent to Congress pursuant to the Trade Promotion Authority Act.
This agreement follows on the heels of our successful completion of a new and balanced trade deal with South Korea. Tremendous difference in that deal from what it was -- it was a disaster, as I said -- to improve the old deal that had killed so many jobs.
It also follows on our announcement last week of a new trade negotiation with Japan. Japan would never negotiate with the United States. They say, "We're not going to negotiate." They told the previous administration, "We're not going to negotiate." I said, "You don't have to negotiate, but we're going to put a very, very substantial tax on your car if you don't."
By way, without tariffs we wouldn't be talking about a deal. Just for those babies out there that keep talking about tariffs. That includes Congress. "Oh please, don't charge tariffs." Without tariffs, you wouldn't be -- we wouldn't be standing here. I can tell you, Bob and all of these folks would not be standing here right now.
And we're totally prepared to do that if they don't negotiate. But Japan is wanting to negotiate. Actually, they called about three weeks ago. And he's a terrific man, a terrific -- just had a tremendous victory. And they said, "We'd like to start negotiations immediately."
India, which is the tariff king, they called us and they say, "We want to start negotiations immediately." When Bob Lighthizer said, "What happened? He would never do this." They said, "No, we want to keep your president happy." Isn't that nice? Isn't that nice? It's true. They have to keep us happy, because they understand that we're wise to what's been happening.
India charges tariffs of 100 percent, and then if we want to put a tariff of 25 percent on, people will call from Congress, "But that's not free trade." And I'd look back to people and say, "Where do these people come from? Where do they come from?"
So because of the power of tariffs and the power that we have with tariffs, we, in many cases, won't even have to use them. That's how powerful they are, and how good they are. But in many cases, we're not going to have to use them.
And many -- and in many cases, countries that are charging massive tariffs are eliminating those tariffs. As you know, we have $250 billion at 25 percent interest with China right now, and we could go $267 billion more, and China wants to talk very badly. And I said, "Frankly, it's too early to talk." Can't talk now, because they're not ready, because they've been ripping us for so many years. It doesn't happen that quickly. And if politically, people force it too quickly, you're not going to make the right deal for our workers and for our country.
But China wants to talk, and we want to talk to them.
And we want them to help us with North Korea. We want them to continue to help us with North Korea. That's very important.
The European Union been very tough on the United States. Last year and for many years, they've lost in the vicinity of $150 billion a year. They have massive trade barriers. And they didn't want to come. They didn't want to talk.
Jean-Claude, great businessperson, head of the European Union, Jean- Claude, my friend, I'd say, "Jean-Claude, we want to make a deal." He goes, "No, no, no. We are very happy." I said, "You may be happy, but I'm not happy, because we have one of the worst deals of any group. We have one of the worst deals with the European Union." And they just didn't want to come because they were happy with the deal. I said, "But we're not happy with the deal." And finally, after, you know, going through a whole process, I said, "Look, we're just going to put a tax of 20 percent on all of the millions of Mercedes and BMWs -- all of the cars." And millions and millions of cars that they sell here that they won't take over there; farm product that they won't take over there, because their barriers, you can't sell. You're not allowed to. Our farmers aren't allowed to sell over there, many of the products -- much of their products -- most of them.
And so I announced that we're going to put a 20 percent tariff, could be 25, on their cars coming in, and they immediately called and said, "We'd like to start negotiations." And we're having a successful negotiation. We'll see what happens. Who knows? I always say, who knows? But we'll see. I have a feeling we'll be successful.
A pillar of national security is economic security and trade. National security is not where we lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Over the last five years, we've averaged $800 billion a year loss on trade. How dumb is that? $800 billion.
This group doesn't know about those numbers. I don't even want them to hear those numbers.
But the United States in its trade deals has lots on average almost $800 billion a year. That's dealing with China, dealing with European Union, dealing with everybody, Japan, Mexico, Canada, everybody. And we're not going to allow that to happen.
[11:40:00] But we have to have a strong manufacturing base and manufacturing sector. We need a thriving economy. Those are all really essential ingredients to national security.
We can't allow what's been happening over the last 25 years to happen.
We're building our military like never before, it will be the strongest it ever was. And all of those jets that are made and rockets and missiles and ships, they're all being made in the United States. Jobs.
Our economy is booming like never before, jobless claims are at a 50- year low, the stock market is at a all-time high. Think of that. Over 50 percent since my election, 50 percent. People, the 401(k)s and they have 401(k)s and they were dying with them for years, now they're so happy.
I was telling the story I often tell of a policeman in New York came up, his wife was always very upset with him as an investor because he wasn't doing well with the 401(k)s. Now she thinks he's a genius because the numbers are so crazy.
But we're up over 50 percent since the election. And you've heard me say this many time, but African-American unemployment, Asian unemployment, Hispanic unemployment is at record lows in history; not, you know, for the last two years, the history of our country, African- American, Asian, Hispanic, young people without high school diplomas, all at historic -- that's a very important sector -- all at historic lows, the lowest in history, it's really something that's great.
This is helping so much with people that get out of prison. We have a tremendous problem. People come out of prison, they can't get a job, employers don't want to hire them. The economy is so good they're hiring them and they're turning out to be incredible workers. They're given a chance -- they're really given a second -- given a third chance in some cases.
But I've had numerous employers come up say, "I'll tell you what, I've taken people that were in prison and we've hired them" -- he wouldn't have done this in a normal economy or a bad economy, only in this kind of an economy.
And now he's like the biggest fan. One man in particular has taken numerous people. He said most of them have been unbelievable. All you can ask is most. But most of them have been unbelievable.
That's a great thing. That's a really great thing. It gives them a chance.
So before we take questions, I want to extend our warmest condolences to the country of Indonesia. Friend of mine, we're going to be calling up the leader, who is a great leader indeed. They got hit by a giant tsunami like people have not seen -- this part of the world hasn't seen it so much fortunately.
They say that's the worst of all, you look at the tornadoes, the hurricanes, you look at all of the different natural disasters -- friend of mine who studies natural disasters, I don't know why he does that, but he does -- he says that tsunami is the worst of all.
And they got hit very hard and probably thousands of people killed. We have already sent a lot of first responders and military and others to help, but it's a really bad, bad situation.
And finally, before closing, I want to send our thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. That was a horrible, horrible time in the life of our country. Took place exactly one year ago today. All of America is grieving for the lives lost, and for the families they left behind.
So to all of those families, and to the people of Las Vegas, we love you, we are with you, we're working with you very hard.
That was a terrible, terrible event. So thank you very much for that.
I want to ask Bob Lighthizer, who is just a terrific individual, as well as a man that knows a lot about this subject, to come up and say a word about the USMCA, the new agreement. And if you have any questions, we'll take some questions after that, please.
LIGHTHIZER: Thank you, Mr. President. Before I start, I would just like to give a vignette, because I think it says something about working for the president.
[11:45:00] So, August 16th of last year, we started this process. And I'm at a hotel in Washington, and there's, like, you know, hundreds and hundreds of people waiting to have the introduction of myself and my two counterparts, one from Canada and one from the United States. And I'm getting -- we're lined up, and I -- and I get a call that says, "The president wants to talk to you."
So I go in a little anteroom, and I get the -- the cell phone, and the president starts talking, and everybody's kind of waiting, and he's talking, and he's going through what he wants to get done in NAFTA, and his problems with it, and all of which he's quite familiar with.
And then he finally says two things which I thought were telling. One, he said, "Bob, I will back you up like no other USTR's been backed up in history." And then, the second thing -- he did that, by the way. And then the second thing he said was, he said, "Now go out there and have fun."
I thought, "Well, it's probably not going to be as much fun for my side as it will be from your side."
But I'm proud to be on your team, and I really am proud to -- to -- to follow you through this and the other -- and the other trade changes.
As you have said, Mr. President, this agreement is historic in many ways. The USMCA will cover $1.2 trillion, easily making it the biggest agreement in history. We have done this in 14 months, and believe me, in trade-negotiating terms, that's like warp speed.
When we began these negotiations last year, the president's instructions to me were precise and straightforward: Protect American workers, fight for our farmers and ranchers, preserve America's competitive innovation edge, secure greater access for our businesses and, above all, bring back jobs to America.
I think we have succeeded with this agreement.
The USMCA will accelerate the manufacturing renaissance our country has enjoyed under President Trump, it will bring our trading relationship with Mexico and Canada into the 21st century, and it will protect America's competitive age in digital and -- and innovation across the economy.
The new agreement will also serve as a template for our trade agreements under the Trump -- the Trump administration in the future.
This paradigm-shifting model rests on three pillars.
The first pillar is fairness. We have negotiated stronger rules of origin for automobiles, which will bring billions of dollars of manufacturing back to America. We have secured greater market access for our farmers and ranchers. We'Ve agreed to unprecedented labor standards that will help level the playing field for our workers. We've also agreed to a first-of-its-kind review and termination provision, which will ensure that the USMCA, unlike NAFTA, will not become unbalanced and out of date.
The second pillar will consist of a host of ambitious provisions on digital trade, intellectual property, services, including financial services, designed to protect our competitive edge.
The third pillar consists of new provisions designed to eliminate unfair trade practices, including strong new disciplines on state- owned enterprises, on currency manipulation, relations with nonmarket economies and much, much more.
We wouldn't be here today if it were not for several people who contributed so much to this endeavor. First, the president's key adviser and my good friend, Jared Kushner, who was my partner in leading the U.S. negotiating team.
I've said before, and I'll say again, this agreement would not have happened if it wasn't for -- for Jared. So thank you very much.
I'd like to thank my counterparts, Secretary Guajardo and Minister Freeland, as well as other Mexican and Canadian government officials, including Secretary Videgaray and Ambassador (inaudible), Gerry Butts and Katie Telford of Canada, and so many more.
I'd also like to thank the wonderful staff at USTR, many of whom are on here. I'd like to think of us a little bit like we were the Marine Corps, and so I like the name particularly of this -- this agreement.
USTR is about 250 people, and they're all devoted, and they're all exceptional, and they all work around the clock. Many of the people you're are looking at spent more than one night in the office over the course of the last few weeks. And they have enormous ability, and this president has unleashed them.
Finally, I would like to thank President Trump. Your leadership, vision and grit made this agreement possible. No other person could have done it. Millions of Americans...
... will benefit for years to come because of this vision and, probably even more important, this grit. Thank you, sir.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Bob. Thank you very much.
Some questions? Yes, Steve (ph), question?
QUESTION: Thank you, sir.
You -- you've had tensions with Prime Minister Trudeau.
QUESTION: How did that affect your ability to get this deal done?
TRUMP: I don't think it did. He's a professional. I'm a professional.
We had very strong tensions. It was just an unfair deal, whether it was Mexico or Canada, and now it's a fair deal for everybody.
It's a much different deal. It's a brand-new deal. It's not NAFTA redone; it's a brand-new deal.
I just spoke with him. We have a great relationship, and we're going to work as a partner.
Don't forget, the rest of the world is looking to take advantage of us, and -- as a region, you might say. And we're going to work very closely together with Canada and with Mexico, because we'll be able to compete with anybody.
We have -- we have things that nobody else has. We have energy that nobody else has. We have timber that nobody else has. We have things that no other part of the world has to the extent that we have. So we're going to do very well together.
I think we have -- there was a lot of tension, I will say, between he and I, I think more specifically. And it's all worked out.
You know when it ended? About 12 o'clock last night.
QUESTION: And you mentioned...
TRUMP: But he's a good man. He's done a good job and he loves the people of Canada.
QUESTION: You mentioned the $267 billion in possible more tariffs on China. What does China need to do to avoid that?
TRUMP: Well, we'll see what happens with China.
We have lost $375 billion in trade deficits. They have a surplus of $375 billion -- with a B -- with United States, and it's been that way for years and years and years.
I always say we rebuilt China. They took that money and they built fighter jets and they built bridges. They built more bridges that we built in the last hundred years, probably. Big ones like the George Washington Bridge, like big bridges.
And I'm not to take -- you know -- look, I don't blame China. I blame our leadership. They should have never let that happen. And I told that to President Xi. I said, you know -- I was making a speech in China and I was really hitting China hard. And I'm in China. I don't know if that's a good thing to do. But I looked at it and I said, "But, you know, I don't really blame you. I blame our leadership for allowing this to happen." He knew exactly what I meant.
We had no deal with China. I asked one of the top people in China; a representative at the highest level came to the Oval Office. I said, "Let me ask you, how did this ever happen?" He's a pro so he -- he doesn't have to be cute. He said, "Nobody ever did anything from the United States. When we put on a 25 percent tariff on every car that comes from the United States into China, we thought we would be rebuked, we thought it would be terrible. Nobody ever called. Nobody did anything." That was years ago.
And we charge them nothing. Two and a half, but we don't collect it. We do now, by the way. But we don't collect the two and a half.
So they charge 25, we charge essentially nothing. But I said, "How did that happen?" He said, "Nobody ever called."
We don't have a deal with China. There is no deal. They do whatever they want.
So we have a tremendous problem with theft of intellectual property with China. We have a lot of other problems with China. We have primarily trade problems. And, as you know, they're having a much more difficult time now. I don't want them to have a difficult time.
And we're doing better than we've ever done. Everybody talked about the tariffs. "Oh, the tariffs, tariffs." You know, tariffs ended in 1913. And they then went to a different system in 1918, totally unrelated. And then in 1928, you had the Great Depression. For a lot of different reasons, not necessarily our country's fault, but a little bit our country's fault.
And then in the 1930s, they said, "We better start charging some tariffs. We need money to come into our country again."
OK? So I'm not advocating tariffs.
I will tell you this: Our steel industry, Wilbur (ph), is stronger than it's been in 25 years.
This has taken six months because I charge for the dumpers. They were dumping steel and dumping aluminum into our country. I charge 25 percent. That's a lot. Could be more, but that's a lot. And if you look at U.S. Steel and Nucor -- Nucor just announced a billion dollar plant. Brand-new. Already started construction. U.S. Steel's building eight or nine plants. They're expanding plants.
I don't think there's any industry like what's happened to steel in the last nine months, 10 months, since I really started doing what I'm doing. It's been really pretty amazing. Aluminum also. So -- and we need steel. We need steel for defense. What are we going to do? Go and say, "Oh, we'll get our steel from a -- like, another country?" Can't do that -- excuse me -- we can't do that.
So we need steel and we need it badly for defense. So, I'm very proud of what's happened with the steel industry.
OK, question? Yes, go ahead. Sure.
She's shocked that I picked her. Like in a state of shock.
QUESTION: I'm not thinking, Mr. President.
TRUMP: That's OK, I know you're not thinking. You never do.
QUESTION: I'm sorry?
TRUMP: No, go ahead. Go ahead.
QUESTION: In a tweet this weekend, Mr. President, you said that it's incorrect to say you're limiting the scope of the FBI investigation.
TRUMP: What does that have to do trade?
I don't mind answering the question. But, you know, I'd like to do the trade questions too.
QUESTION: It has to do with the other headline in the news, which is the Kavanaugh nomination.
TRUMP: No, but, I know, but how about talking about trade and then we'll get to that? We'll do that a little bit later.
QUESTION: Do you think the trade...
TRUMP: Anybody have a trade -- go ahead.
QUESTION: Do you think you trade deal will pass through Congress, sir?
TRUMP: I think so. But, you know, if doesn't, we have lots of other alternatives. But I do think so. I think if they're fair, which is a big question -- but if it's fair on both sides -- the Republicans love it, industry loves it, our country loves it. If it's fair, it will pass. I think it'll pass. I think it'll pass easily, really easily, because it's a great deal.
I mean, NAFTA passed, it's one of the worst deals I have ever seen. Inconceivable that it was made.
Fair question. Any other questions on trade?
QUESTION: Thank you.
TRUMP: I'll get back to you on the other question.
QUESTION: I'd like to go forward with my Kavanaugh question. TRUMP: Let's do that later. And we'll -- but I'll call you a second time.
Go ahead, please. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
You have described India right now as a tariff king. Can you explain it a bit better?
TRUMP: Well, India charges us tremendous tariffs. When we send Harley Davidson motorcycles, other things to India, they charge very, very high tariffs. And I've spoken to Prime Minister Modi and he's going to reduce them very substantially.
Nobody every spoke to these people. He said, "Nobody ever spoke to me." In other words, we've had leaders here -- I'm not, you know, trying to be overly dramatic. We've had presidents of the United States and trade representatives, they're not -- they never spoke to India.
Brazil's another one. That's a beauty. They charge us whatever they want. If you ask some of the companies they say Brazil is among the toughest in the world -- maybe the toughest in the world.
We don't call them and say, "Hey, you're treating our companies unfairly, you're treating our country unfairly."
So, India is a very, very high -- they really charge tremendously high tariffs. On motorcycles it was 100 percent. So, you send a motorcycle into India, there's a 100 percent tariff. Now, that's so high that it's like a barrier, in other words, who's going to buy it? Cost you so much. Now they've already reduced that substantially, but it's still too high.
My relationship with India is great, with Prime Minister Modi is great. And they're going to start doing a lot. They've already -- they've called us to make a deal. We didn't even call them, they called us to make a deal, which is, like, shocking to people.
Yes, sir, go ahead. Yes?
QUESTION: Well, I don't -- there we go. I do have second question on the Kavanaugh thing, when you get back to it, if you'd take that.
TRUMP: Let's go.
QUESTION: You'll take that now?
TRUMP: No, no.
QUESTION: OK. Well...
TRUMP: We're still on trade.
QUESTION: On trade, the question I have on trade, does this mean the end of tariffs, if you could spell that out, to Canada?
TRUMP: No. No.
QUESTION: So, do you think it will pass?
TRUMP: No, no.
The steel is staying where it is, and aluminum.
But it means we probably, for the most part, won't be having to use tariffs unless we're unable to make a deal with a country.
For instance, if we can't make a deal with the European Union, we will respectfully put tariffs on the cars. The United States will take in billions and billions of dollars into its coffers. Isn't that nice? Because you don't hear that.
QUESTION: Only from Carl Sagan.
TRUMP: OK. Yeah, Sagan.
But it'll take in billion and billions of dollars. But really what's going to happen is, they'll make the cars in the United States, this way they don't have to pay the 25 or the 20 percent tax.
QUESTION: And could you spell out...
TRUMP: So, I don't think you're going to have to use the tariffs too often. But there will be cases where have countries that are just absolutely not willing to do what's fair and reciprocal. And in that case, they'll pay tariffs.
And you know what? The United States will do very well. Either way, we do very well.
QUESTION: So, do you think it'll pass in Canada, Mexico and, more importantly...
TRUMP: I don't know...
QUESTION: ... here in the United States?
TRUMP: I can't tell you.
All I know is we made a deal. The highly respected presidents and in the case of Canada, the prime minister, are satisfied with the deal. It's good for Canada, good for Mexico. It's good for all three. This is a deal. I'm not -- this is good for all three. That's good. And just that fact makes it good for us, but this is good for all three.
But this is a much different deal than NAFTA. And this is much more of a reciprocal deal for the United States, which is really good.