President Trump Needs New Friends

The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.

First, a disclaimer. I love my country and respect my president.

Now for the but… but I wish Mr. Trump wouldn’t call China’s president Xi Jinping his friend.

If you missed president Trump’s tweet yesterday regarding Mr. Xi Jinping it was, “will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade."

My belief: friends don’t rob you blind and do you intentional harm.

Consider how much technology China has stolen from the U.S. over the years. I’m not sure we know the full extent. Farm Journal first reported on the problem of Chinese agricultural technology theft in 2013 with its story Seeds of Deceit. (See agweb.com/tech-heist.)

There has been some recent justice. Just last week, U.S. District Court Judge Carlos Murguia in the District of Kansas sentenced Zhang Weiqiang, 51, a Chinese national living in Manhattan, Kan., to 121 months in federal prison.

Zhang was convicted on three counts, including conspiracy to steal trade secrets and interstate transport of stolen property, the department said in a statement.

“Today’s sentence demonstrates the significant consequences awaiting those who would steal trade secrets from American companies,” said John Cronan, DOJ’s acting assistant attorney general.

As for our on-going tit-for-tat tariff exchange with China, no one knows how that will end. Right now, we say we will impose $150 billion-worth of tariffs on Chinese products. So far, China has threatened us with $50 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods.

Earlier this month, April 2, Beijing imposed a 25% tariff on pork and a 15% tariff on apples, almonds and some other goods (https://www.porkbusiness.com/article/chinas-tariffs-take-effect). Soybeans, cotton and beef are just a few of the agricultural products next in line.

President Trump insists, "China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!"

If President Trump is right, and I pray he is, I’ll reconsider my stance on friendship.

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