Oval Office

1:40 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, and welcome to everyone.  I’m thrilled to be joined by Ambassador Lighthizer as I sign a very important executive action to protect American jobs and American workers.

We appreciate, Bob, your efforts.  You’ve worked so hard and so long with our team.  And it’s all happening, and it’s been happening at a very rapid rate.  And you’ll see what’s going to take place over the next number of months.

Based on the recommendation of the independent, bipartisan U.S. International Trade Commission, I am taking action to impose safeguard tariffs on imported residential washing machines and all solar products.

My administration is committed to defending American companies, and they’ve been very badly hurt from harmful import surges that threaten the livelihood of their workers, of jobs, actually, all over this country — many different industries.

Today, I’m also directing Ambassador Lighthizer to continue supporting industry discussions to resolve duties on these and similar products in the United States and China.

We support a resolution that is in the interest of American workers and, also, the American consumer.  We’re going to benefit our consumers, and we’re going to create a lot of jobs.

Our action today helps to create jobs in America for Americans.  It will provide a strong incentive for LG and Samsung to follow through on their recent promises to build major manufacturing plants for washing machines right here in the United States.

When we do this, a lot of manufacturers will be coming to the United States to build washing machines and also solar.  For both solar and washing machines, these executive actions uphold the principle of fair trade and demonstrate to the world that the United States will not be taken advantage of anymore.  Our companies will not be taken advantage of anymore.

And our workers are going to have lots of really great jobs with products that are going to be made in the good old USA.  And that’s what this is all about.

So, I’m going to start signing.  We’ll go here first.  This is to facilitate positive adjustment to competition from imports of large residential washers and washing machines, et cetera.  Thank you.

(The President signs the proclamation.)

It’s a very big industry, and you’re going to have a lot of plants built in the United States that were thinking of coming, but they would’ve never come unless we did this.  Big industry.  A lot bigger than people would understand.

And this is similar, but this is for solar products so that we’ll be making solar products now much more so in the United States.  Our companies have been decimated, and those companies are going to be coming back strong.

(The President signs the proclamation.)

So this is panels and products — generally, solar.  Potentially great industry in this country, but now we’ll be making it in the United States.  Okay.  A lot of workers; a lot of jobs.

And these are our letters to the Speaker of the House, and essentially saying, “Let’s go.  We’re done.  We’re ready.” And this will start very rapidly.

(The President signs the proclamation.)

Okay, this to the Speaker.  And I think I’ll give this pen to Mr. Robert Lighthizer.

We’re, as you know, negotiating a new deal with NAFTA.  We’re renegotiating our deal with South Korea, which has turned out to be a disaster for this country.  It was a deal that was going to create 200,000 jobs, and we lost 200,000 jobs.  We’re renegotiating that.

NAFTA is moving along pretty well.  I happen to be of the opinion that if it doesn’t work out, we’ll terminate it.  But I think you’re doing pretty well, Bob, from what I understand.  So we’ll see how it all works out.

And we’ll be doing other trade deals.  We’re in the process of negotiating with other countries also, all of which have treated us very unfairly.  We had very poor representation for many years and it’s hurt our workers, it’s hurt our factories, it’s hurt our companies, and that is stopping.  And you’re seeing what’s happening with the stock market.  People are appreciating what we’re doing.

The biggest thing we’ve done, probably, is regulation, and followed closely behind by the greatest tax cuts in the history of our country.  But I think regulation is on par with that.  So a lot of people are watching us.

I’m going to Davos.  We’ll be talking about investing in the United States again, for people to come in and spend their money in the good old USA.

And that’s what they’re doing.  We have massive amounts of money coming in.  Apple, as you know, just announced they’re going to spend $350 billion in the United States, which I believe is the largest amount ever invested in this country by a company — $350 billion.  Jobs all over the place, all over the country.  They’re going to build a magnificent campus.

We have other people coming in — other companies.  I’ve been called by at least 10 major executives, and they’re going to be announcing very shortly major investments in the country and major investments for the people of our country.  Really, almost more than anything, else we need jobs.  So we’re bringing business back to the United States for the first time in many, many years — many, many decades, really.  And we’re very proud of it and that’s why the stock market is reacting the way it is.  Okay.

Thank you all very much.

Q    Mr. President, are you concerned about what the Attorney General told the Special Counsel?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I’m not at all concerned.  Not at all.

Q    Did you talk to him about it?  Did you talk to the Attorney General?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I didn’t.  But I’m not at all concerned.

Thank you all very much.

Q    Did Christopher Wray threaten to resign?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  He didn’t at all.

Q    He did not threaten —

THE PRESIDENT:  He did not even, a little bit.  Nope.  He’s going to do a good job.

Q    Planning steel and aluminum tariffs as well?

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re looking at it.  We’re looking at a lot of things.

Q    Are you concerned about the senior leadership at the FBI?

THE PRESIDENT:  We’ll see how it all works out.

Q    Are you concerned about sparking a trade war with this action?

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you all very much.

There won’t be a trade war, by the way.  There will only be stock increases for the companies that are in this country.  And that’s what happened today.  If you look at solar and you look at the washing machine companies, that’s really what happened today.  You’re going to have people getting jobs again, and we’re going to make our own product again.  It’s been a long time.

Thank you all very much.  Thank you.

END

1:48 P.M. EST

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