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US elections 2020

Trump vows to build 'manufacturing superpower' not reliant on China

President says he will punish companies that leave US for cheaper destinations

U.S. President Donald Trump says China will "own" the country if he is not reelected.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will turn the U.S. into a "manufacturing superpower" that does not rely on China, which he warned would "own" the country if he loses next month's presidential election.

Speaking virtually to the Economic Club of New York and other economic clubs, Trump said his focus going forward will be to reward companies that move jobs to the U.S. -- and punish those that do the opposite.

"We will keep taxes low for companies [that] move jobs to America, and we'll impose steep tariffs on any company that leaves," he said. "They want to leave? They want to make our product and then sell it back after firing everybody? Not going to happen. They will be tariffed," Trump said.

"We will make America into the manufacturing superpower of the world, ending reliance on China once and for all," he added.

The speech came less than three weeks before the Nov. 3 election, for which early and mail-in voting is already underway. The Republican president spoke from the White House Rose Garden before heading to Iowa. Trump is also scheduled to hold rallies in battleground states including North Carolina, Florida and Georgia this week as he seeks to reduce and reverse the widening gap with his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Wednesday's speech included harsh criticism of the Obama administration before him, in which Biden served as the No. 2.

"The last administration sold out American workers like never before. And they sold them to donors, special interests and globalists," Trump said, referring to the outsourcing of jobs overseas.

"I implemented massive tax cuts and regulation cuts to keep jobs, opportunity and wealth in America," he said.

"Instead of corrupt and horrendous trade deals written by lobbyists and special interests ... I negotiated pro-American trade deals based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity," he said.

"I've taken the toughest-ever action against China's chronic trade abuses that we all know so well. I immediately canceled the last administration's job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership, and I renegotiated the South Korea deal, which was a disaster," Trump said.

"China unleashed the virus onto the world, and only a Trump administration will hold them accountable. And if this administration, if I don't get elected in a little while, 20 days, China will own the United States, I can tell you that," he said.

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