Dem candidates rip Trump on China ahead of crucial trade summit

Dem candidates rip Trump on China ahead of crucial trade summit
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Democratic presidential candidates criticized President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE’s trade war with China during Thursday’s primary debate in Miami, arguing that his use of tariffs is the wrong weapon in the president’s rightful battle with China.

Trump’s Democratic challengers agreed with his concerns about anti-competitive trade policy from China and the authoritarian regime’s efforts to expand its global influence. 

But they criticized Trump for using tariffs on billions of Chinese goods to push Beijing into negotiations, creating immense economic costs for both nations.

“The China challenge really is serious. This is not something to dismiss or wave away,” said South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Increased security on Capitol Hill amid QAnon's March 4 date Biden to meet with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill MORE. “But their fundamental economic model isn't going to change because of some tariffs.”

Trump has imposed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods and has threatened to subject another $300 billion to import taxes if Beijing does not agree to significant economic reforms and narrow its trade surplus with the U.S.

China has responded with tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. crops and livestock, targeting the vulnerable U.S. agriculture sector at a time of deep economic pain.

Democrats argued that Trump’s tariffs addressed real concerns but created unnecessary economic harm for U.S. farmers, manufacturers and consumers. 

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSenators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China Democrats push Biden to include recurring payments in recovery package Democrats: Minimum wage isn't the only issue facing parliamentarian MORE (D-Colo.) said Trump should instead unite global allies to curb China’s alleged practice of intellectual property theft, steel dumping and currency manipulation.

“He has been right to push back on China. But he's done it and completely the wrong way,” Bennet said of Trump. “We should mobilize the entire rest of the world who all have a shared interest in pushing back on China's mercantilist trade policies.”

Andrew YangAndrew YangDozens of famous men support ,400 monthly payments for mothers for 'unpaid labor at home' Yang intervenes after man threatened with metal pole on Staten Island Ferry NYC's largest union endorses Maya Wiley in mayoral race MORE, a tech entrepreneur, added “They do pirate our intellectual property is a massive problem. But the tariffs and the trade war are just punishing businesses and producers and workers on both sides.”

Buttigieg said that the only way to defeat China as they use “technology for the perfection of dictatorship” is to focus on sprawling domestic investments, “not the export balance on dishwashers.”

“The biggest thing we've got to do is invest in our own domestic competitiveness. If we disinvest in our own infrastructure, education, we are never going to be able to compete,” Buttigieg said.

The attacks on Trump’s trade policy come a day before the president is set to meet with his Chinese counterpart in a bid to reboot failed negotiations after they fell apart in May.

Trump is scheduled to meet Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The leaders of the two largest economies are expected to announce a temporary pause to further tariffs as the U.S. and China seek to end the yearlong trade war.