CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is declaring the China portion of his Asia trip a success.
Emanuel arrived in Tokyo, but said talks in China ensured that 350 Chicago manufacturing jobs won’t be sacrificed in a trade war.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley has the latest.
In Beijing, Mayor Emanuel accepted a document cementing Chicago as a gateway city for China after talks cemented hundreds of Chicago industrial jobs that may have been in danger.
“Even though there’s a trade conflict, I’m not gonna allow the paychecks of workers in Chicago to become a victim of that trade conflict,” said Emanuel.
Potentially at risk: the 100 million dollar southeast side factory, where the Chinese company CRCC is scheduled to produce at least 400 new CTA train cars.
But President Trump’s tariffs presented an obstacle, significantly raising steel prices. When asked if the project was in some jeopardy because of the tariffs, China’s Consul General had this to say:
“Of course. This kind of a decision will increase the cost for manufacturers,” said Hong Lei.
The key to the talks: a meeting between Emanuel and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, along with CRRC executives.
“We don’t want our relationship to be influenced by the winds where trade and tariff battles are,” said Emanuel.
At the Chinese consulate in Chicago, China’s diplomatic representative in the Midwest, Lei praised the resolution reached by Emanuel.
But he also made clear, the Chinese aren’t backing down from President Trump’s trade war.
“With the decision by the U.S. government to impose punitive tariffs on China, then we have to strike back to protect our legitimate national interests,” said Lei.
All of which means a widening trade war could produce other Midwest victims.
Farmers are already suffering from lower corn and soybean prices due to tariffs that curtailed exports to China.
Consumers could be next, now that Trump’s tariffs have struck clothes, handbags, even makeup that’s made in China.