The Slatest

Trump Insists He Can Force Companies to Leave China as He Arrives at G7 Summit

President Donald Trump sits to lunch at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, south-west France on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
President Donald Trump sits to lunch at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, south-west France on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world’s seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
LUDOVIC MARIN/Getty Images

President Donald Trump wasn’t backing down from his threat to force U.S. businesses to leave China, writing in a tweet that those who doubted his authority to do so should study the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Nevermind that, as the New York Times notes, the “national security law … has been used mainly to target terrorists, drug traffickers and pariah states like Iran, Syria, and North Korea.”

Trump specifically took aim at the media for questioning whether he actually had the authority to order that American businesses leave China and dedicated his tweet to “all the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue.” He added that if they studied that law they would realize it’s “Case closed!”

The president made the statement hours after he said he was ordering American companies “to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.” But the threat to use a law that is meant to be applied on criminal regimes came as the Chinese government made clear it would raise tariffs on American goods in retaliation. After Trump said he would increase tariffs even more, Beijing made clear that it would not be backing down. The People’s Daily, an official Chinese media outlet, said that China will continue fighting the trade war “until the end.” China’s commerce ministry issued a statement calling on the White House not to “misjudge the situation and underestimate the determination of Chinese people.”

China was hardly the only one that was standing up to Trump ahead of the G7 summit. The European Union will “respond in kind” if the United States decides to impose tariffs on France over its digital tax plan, Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council said Saturday. Earlier, Trump had said that if France goes ahead will “taxing our companies” then “we’ll be taxing their wine like they’ve never seen before.”

Amid all these tensions, Trump arrived in France Saturday morning for the G7 summit that is likely to be marked by all these global trade tensions. Trump tried to sound optimistic after his lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron. “So far, so good,” Trump said. “The weather is fantastic. Everybody’s getting along. I think we will accomplish a lot this weekend.” Most disagree with that prediction and expectations for the summit are so low that France has said that for the first time there won’t be a single joint statement by all the G7 members.