Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr. and US-Asia Pacific Relations

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Coordinator: Sarah Wang. For methodology, click here.

This resource will track statements, developments, visits and other interactions in US-Asia Pacific relations given or undertaken by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr. 

To view quotations, debriefs of interactions with Asia Pacific leaders, and media sorted by topic, scroll down or use the links below.

Travel to Asia Pacific Countries Asia Pacific Leaders Asia Pacific Allies & Partners
China/Taiwan Human Rights & Democracy North Korea
South China Sea Southeast Asia/ASEAN Summits - APEC, East Asia (EAS), & US-ASEAN
Trade & Investnment    

To view the stances of President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of Defense Mattis, Secretary of Commerce Ross, and Secretary of State Tillerson on various issues in US-Asia Pacific relations, click here.

To view quotations, interviews, and policy documents given by and interactions with Asia Pacific leaders undertaken by President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of Defense Mattis, and Secretary of State Tillerson use the links below.

President Donald J. Trump Vice President Mike Pence Secretary of Defense James Mattis
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson    

To examine Asian reactions to ongoing developments in US-Asia relations and the US 2016 Presidential election,click here.

To explore previous quotations, views on Asia Pacific issues, and other connections to Asia from President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other candidates in the 2016 Presidential Election, click here.

Travel to Asia Pacific Countries

  • Japanese Flag. Image: http://www.flaticon.com Japan in April 2017.

Asia Pacific Leaders

  •  On March 16, 2017 Secretary Ross met with Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko in Washington to affirm the importance of strengthening US-Japan trade ties and broader investment goals in the Asia Pacific region. 

Asia Pacific Allies & Partners

  • "Well, the fifth anniversary of the South Korean arrangement, the so-called KORUS, comes up I believe on May 4th or May 5th, something like that.  So that would be a logical time to think through whether there was something to be done or not." [Source] White House Press Briefing. April 26, 2017
  • The US does not have a free trade agreement with India at this point. So the trade relations between US and India are governed by the WTO rules. [...] I don’t believe that there have been any serious discussions with India of late on the topic of a free trade agreement. But there’s no inherent negative attitude on our part on that." [Source] White House Press Briefing. April 26, 2017
  • [After meeting with Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige in Japan] "We are certainly eager to increase our trade relationships with Japan and to do so in the form of an agreement." [Source] Kentaro Iwamoto. Nikkei Asian Review. April 18, 2017
  • Under Secretary Ross, the Department of Commerce exercised its authority under Congress for the first time on April 11, 2017 to address market distortions in the production of foreign merchandise and calculate more accurate dumping margins. The Department has found that South Korean steel producers have been unfairly dumping oil country tubular goods (OCTG) into the US market. 
  • On March 16, 2017 Secretary Ross met with Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko in Washington to affirm the importance of strengthening US-Japan trade ties and broader investment goals in the Asia Pacific region. 

China/Taiwan

  • On April 21, 2017 Secretary Ross announced a new antidumping duty investigation against carton-closing staples from China. 
  • "'If we [the United States] don't get some tangible results [from China regarding trade] within the first 100 days, I think we'll have to examine whether it's worthwhile continuing them [...] It requires everybody playing by the rules and it requires everybody to have the same objectives. We’ll see in a very, very short while whether it is really the case that we are on the same wavelength.'" [Source] Interview with Fox News. April 9, 2017
  • "What I would hope would come out [of President Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping] would be a commitment to start abiding by the rules and a commitment to working collaboratively to help reduce our deficit [with China]." [Source] Interview with Fox and Friends. March 31, 2017 
  • "Secretary Ross on Nafta, China, and Border Adjustment Tax." [Follow-up on the criminal penalty negotiations with Chinese company ZTE. The China portion of the interview can be viewed from 0:00-1:33 of the interview]. [Source] Bloomberg. March 8, 2017
  • On March 7, 2017, Secretary Ross announced that China's Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. (ZTE) has agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $1.19 billion after violating sanctions on exports to Iran and North Korea.

To view the  press conference of this announcement, click here

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator John Thune (R-SD) about China's trade practices.

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on how to counter steel dumping, including that by China.

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) on how he would expand free trade, including the removal of trade barriers like those imposed by China.

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) about Chinese investment in the United States.

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) on the potential for direct bilateral trade with Taiwan. 

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) on the barriers to US investment into China and the need for reciprocity.

Human Rights & Democracy

 

North Korea

 

South China Sea

 

Southeast Asia/ASEAN

 

Summits - APEC, East Asia (EAS), & US-ASEAN

 

Trade & Investment

  • "Well, the fifth anniversary of the South Korean arrangement, the so-called KORUS, comes up I believe on May 4th or May 5th, something like that.  So that would be a logical time to think through whether there was something to be done or not." [Source] White House Press Briefing. April 26, 2017
  • The US does not have a free trade agreement with India at this point. So the trade relations between US and India are governed by the WTO rules. [...] I don’t believe that there have been any serious discussions with India of late on the topic of a free trade agreement. But there’s no inherent negative attitude on our part on that." [Source] White House Press Briefing. April 26, 2017
  • On April 21, 2017 Secretary Ross announced a new antidumping duty investigation against carton-closing staples from China. 
  • [After meeting with Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige in Japan] "We are certainly eager to increase our trade relationships with Japan and to do so in the form of an agreement." [Source] Kentaro Iwamoto. Nikkei Asian Review. April 18, 2017
  • Under Secretary Ross, the Department of Commerce exercised its authority under Congress for the first time on April 11, 2017 to address market distortions in the production of foreign merchandise and calculate more accurate dumping margins. The Department has found that South Korean steel producers have been unfairly dumping oil country tubular goods (OCTG) into the US market. 
  • "'If we [the United States] don't get some tangible results [from China regarding trade] within the first 100 days, I think we'll have to examine whether it's worthwhile continuing them [...] It requires everybody playing by the rules and it requires everybody to have the same objectives. We’ll see in a very, very short while whether it is really the case that we are on the same wavelength.'" [SourceInterview with Fox News. April 9, 2017
  • "What I would hope would come out [of President Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping] would be a commitment to start abiding by the rules and a commitment to working collaboratively to help reduce our deficit [with China]." [Source] Interview with Fox and Friends. March 31, 2017 
  • "Secretary Ross on Nafta, China, and Border Adjustment Tax." [Follow-up on the criminal penalty negotiations with Chinese company ZTE. The China portion of the interview can be viewed from 0:00-1:33 of the interview]. [SourceBloomberg. March 8, 2017
  • On March 7, 2017, Secretary Ross announced that China's Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. has agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $1.19 billion after violating sanctions on exports to Iran and North Korea.

To view the  press conference of this announcement, click here

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator John Thune (R-SD) about China's trade practices.

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on how to counter steel dumping, including that by China.

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) on how he would expand free trade, including the removal of trade barriers like those imposed by China.

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) about Chinese investment in the United States.

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) on the potential for direct bilateral trade with Taiwan. 

During his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce on January 18, 2017, Wilbur Ross, Jr. was questioned by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) on the barriers to US investment into China and the need for reciprocity.

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Methodology: Policy materials and quotations from Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr. are limited to after January 18, 2017 when he underwent a confirmation hearing before the Senate. Should any quotations before the period be deemed relevant they will be indicated by an asterisk (*) after the date. In all cases, these additional quotations were made within the year prior to the start of the Trump Administration. Flag icons that indicate which countries members of the Trump administration have traveled to are provided by Freepik, accessed through www.flaticon.com.

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