Analysts: Austin visit two birds with one stone for Trump

Anna Ashton, senior director of government affairs at the US-China Business Council, said her group is hopeful the visit can help the Trump administration get a better understanding of how international policies can affect people at the ground level. “We think it’s a good opportunity for the president and other members of his administration to get a better picture of how the US-China commercial relationship affects people on the ground, and how it affects jobs in specific communities,” Ashton said. Ashton said the council — which has about 200 American companies in its membership, including Apple, Amazon and Dell Technologies — supports the president’s efforts to resolve “perennial” issues in US-China business relations, such as those regarding intellectual property, technology transfer and trade imbalances. However, she said the use of tariffs by both countries has put a burden on US companies and their supply chains, potentially leading to a loss of manufacturing jobs. “We didn’t support the tariffs, and we still don’t support the tariffs. We feel like they’re not the right tool for accompanying change; they cost Americans too much,” Ashton said. Ashton said her organization hopes Trump makes the visit an opportunity to better understand the intricacies of supply chains and job creation affected by US-China relations. “The White House should also be visiting small and medium-sized businesses that have relied on US-China commercial relations as part of their business strategy, because big companies have been heavily impacted, but they’re not the only ones,” Ashton said.