White House East Room Washington D.C. January 15 11:51 A.M. EST
Thank you very much. Please. We greatly appreciate your joining us at this White House event. This is a very important and remarkable occasion.
Today, we take a momentous step - one that has never been taken before with China - toward a future of fair and reciprocal trade, as we sign phase one of the historic trade deal between the United States and China. Together, we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers, and families.
I want to thank President Xi, who is watching as we speak - and I'll be going over to China in the not-too-distant future to reciprocate - but I want to thank President Xi, a very, very good friend of mine. We've - we're representing different countries. He's representing China. I'm representing the U.S. But we've developed an incredible relationship. But I want to thank him for his cooperation and partnership throughout this very complex process. Our negotiations were tough, honest, open, and respectful - leading us to this really incredible breakthrough. Most people thought this could never happen. It should have happened 25 years ago, by the way. But that's okay.
A man who also has become a good friend of mine and somebody who's very, very talented and very capable, we're delighted to be joined by Vice Premier Liu He, Ambassador Cui, and many other representatives from the People's Republic of China.
We are especially proud of the efforts of Vice President Mike Pence, who is with us. And, Mike, I'd like to have you say a few words, please.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE:
Thank you, Mr. President. It's an honor to be here with you, with Vice Premier Liu He, with our Treasury Secretary, with Ambassador Lighthizer, and with so many distinguished guests, members of Congress, and governors from around the country. This is a good day for America, China, and the world. And it's an honor to be with you.
Mr. President, we gather here today, thanks to your leadership, at a time that the American economy is booming. With the strong support of members of Congress who are gathered here, we are now experiencing an economy that's created more than 7 million jobs. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low. The average American's household income has risen by more than $5,000. That's all a result of your commitment to cut taxes, roll back regulation, unleash American energy. But it also reflects your commitment to free, fair, and reciprocal trade.
Early in this administration, you made it clear that the era of economic surrender was over. And you took a strong stand for American jobs and American workers. You said to our friends in China that things had to change. And thanks to your leadership, today the change begins. (Applause.)
Thanks to your efforts, Mr. President, we announced today great progress on protecting intellectual property, on preventing forced technology transfer and currency manipulation. And I know it means so much to you - the greatest impact may well be on American agriculture. Some $40- to $50 billion in purchases secured in this deal that will result in greater prosperity for farmers all across the land.
And, Mr. President, your commitment to a growing and prosperous America has been the centerpiece of your leadership. And today, with the signing of phase one, it's one more example of your commitment to put American jobs and American workers first. And we recognize, as you do, Mr. President, that differences will remain between our two nations. But today is the start of a new chapter in trade relation between the two largest economies in the world.
But I can assure the American people that this President will continue to stand firm and put America first, even as we forge a more productive relationship with China and with the world.
Mr. President, you know there's an ancient Chinese proverb that says, "Men see only the present, but Heaven sees the future." So let today be the beginning of a brighter future, more prosperous for the American people, the Chinese people, and the world. Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.)
Thank you, Mike. An incredible job. Incredible guy.
I also want to give special thanks to our U.S. Trade Representative, who's been kept very busy. (Laughter.) He's doing a lot of deals. We'll have another big one next week. It should get approved very shortly, and that'll be tremendous, with Canada and Mexico. But we'll talk about that next week.
But Robert Lighthizer - are we keeping you busy enough? Huh? Poor guy can't sleep. He tosses and turns. What happened to him?
Here. I'm sorry. That was dropped. And -
Oh, okay. Thanks.
I'm all purpose. (Laughter.)
Mike. Mike. Mike said - that's right, you are all-purpose, come to think. (Laughter.)
But Bob Lighthizer is really an outstanding guy. He gets along with people. He's smart, he's sharp. And he understands trade better than anybody. When I first took this, I said, "I got to get the best guy." And all signs pointed to Robert Lighthizer. So thank you very much, Bob. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
I have one question: Was this an easier job or a tougher job than you thought?
It was tougher than I thought. (Laughter.)
I had a feeling you might say that. Also, our great Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has worked with Bob hand in hand. And thank you very much, Steve. Great job. (Applause.)
So this really is a landmark agreement. But along with them, we had the exceptional efforts of Jared Kushner. Where is Jared? Where is Jared? (Applause.) Our brilliant Jared. Great job, Jared. He worked hard. He left a beautiful, nice, very prosperous real estate business, and came here. And, I can tell you, that was harder. This is harder than real estate in New York, isn't it, Jared? Right?
A lot harder.
But you've done a fantastic job. You don't get people like that. So thank you very much. And, Ivanka, nice to have you here. Thank you, honey.
Also somebody that I've heard for 35 years. His voice is just - a great gentleman, a friend of mine, but a great gentleman. We brought him in and he has been outstanding. The only problem is he doesn't like going on television very much. He's a little bit shy about that. Larry Kudlow. Where's Larry? (Applause.) Where is Larry?
We had a day where the market went down $1 trillion. Think of that. In other words, it was one of those few days, because we've had 141 days where we hit all-time highs. And we just broke - as you know, we just broke the 29,000 mark on the Dow, just now, as we were walking in. The market is up substantially today. (Applause.) We have all these business leaders. I'm sure they don't care.
But Larry Kudlow went out into the beautiful lawns of the White House. Actually, he was standing in the middle of the Rose Garden. He had a beautiful scarf waving in the wind. He was everything perfect, right out of Greenwich, Connecticut. (Laughter.) And he started talking. And by the time he finished, I said, "You just made a trillion dollars. A trillion." (Laughter.) Because the market went up like 250 points. I said, "Larry, what the hell did you say?" (Laughter.) And it didn't matter. But we were even. We went from being a trillion down to even, and that was pretty good.
Larry, you've been fantastic. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. (Applause.)
And, by the way, I just see in the audience our great Ambassador to China, right? Governor. So we had the governor of Iowa, and he loves China. And he's the long- - you're the longest-serving governor in the history of our country. Like 24 years. And I called him. I said, "Governor, you have to do me a favor." Because I remember one conversation I had with him. I was going in to make a speech, before the election, and he said, "Sir, please don't say anything bad about China." It's the first time anyone ever said that to me. (Laughter.) And I said, "Who is this guy?" He's the governor of Iowa. He just said, "Don't say bad about China." So I had to rip up about half of my speech, right? (Laughter.)
And I said, "Why?" And he said, "Well, we do a lot of business. I've been dealing with China for 35 years, with corn and all of the different things." And he told me a story that was amazing. He said, "You know, 35 years ago, when I started, I met a man named Xi. He wasn't President then; he was a young man." And the governor came back. He told his wife, he said - this is 35 years ago. And it's documented. He said, "I just met the future President of China."
And nobody thought much about it. And you know what? Twenty-eight years later, you turned out to be right. And you have been an incredible ambassador. And they like each other so much. So when it came time to picking the important position of ambassador, I said, "Haven't you had enough after 24 years being governor of Iowa?" He said, "If you want me to do that." And it's been a great - you've been a great help. Thank you very much, Ambassador. (Applause.) I appreciate it. Done a great job. Nobody could have done that job better.
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