Ahead of G-7, Trump asserts he can force US companies to leave China

As he arrived in France for the annual meeting of the Group of 7 powers, Trump posted a message on Twitter citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 — a law meant to enable a president to isolate criminal regimes but not intended to be used to cut off economic ties with a major trading partner because of a disagreement over tariffs.

“For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977,” Trump wrote. “Case closed!”

The president’s tweet could further unsettle US companies that still conduct an enormous amount of business with China amid a trade war that has already strained ties. Stock markets fell sharply on Friday after Trump first raised the prospect of cutting off trade altogether.

The threat came after the Chinese government said it would raise tariffs on US goods in retaliation for the latest levies imposed by Trump on $300 billion in Chinese imports. Trump vowed hours later to raise tariffs further.

China’s commerce ministry issued a strongly worded statement Saturday evening warning the United States to turn back from ever-escalating confrontation, but it did not threaten any new trade measures.

“This unilateral and bullying trade protectionism and extreme pressure violate the consensus of the heads of state of China and the United States, violate the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, seriously undermine the multilateral trading system and the normal international trade order,” the Chinese statement said.

China warned that the United States would suffer as a result.

“The Chinese side strongly urges the US side not to misjudge the situation, not to underestimate the determination of the Chinese people, and immediately stop the wrong approach, otherwise all consequences will be borne by the US,” the statement added.

c.2019 New York Times News Service

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