Donald Trump’s honeymoon with U.S. factory workers may be over after his trip to China, if the views of a manufacturers and labor group are any indication.
“We are bitterly disappointed with the president’s failure to demand systemic reforms in our economic relationship with China,” Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing said in a statement Thursday. “This trip was all for show.”
The group, a Washington-based nonprofit partnership of producers and the United Steelworkers union, demanded that Trump complete trade investigations on steel and aluminum as soon as he returns to the U.S.
More than 60 steelworkers spoke to U.S. lawmakers and their staffs in September about the need to address global steel overcapacity, with the intention of pushing the Trump administration to finish an investigation into whether imports threaten national security. Later the same week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the government was postponing a decision on steel tariffs until a tax bill is passed.
The manufacturers group’s comments on Thursday come after the president called out China for unfair trade practices, but blamed his predecessors rather than China.
“While Trump is not wrong in pointing the finger of blame back to the United States for negotiating poor agreements and providing lax enforcement, that finger is now pointed at him,” Paul said. “There has been no tangible progress in reducing China’s mammoth industrial overcapacity in sectors such as steel, aluminum and semiconductors.”
Paul, who is president of the group, quit a Trump advisory council earlier this year in the wake of the Republican’s initial reluctance to condemn white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.