President Trump mulling trade actions against China


The Southeast Asia nation had been demoted to the lowest tier a year ago, shortly after it shifted to civilian government, ending decades of oppressive military rule.

Members of Congress said Tuesday that they hope to move forward with a package of self-driving vehicle legislation by the end of July.

Thailand remained in the second tier of nations in an annual U.S. human trafficking report released Tuesday.

"It is our hope that the 21st century will be the last century of human trafficking, and that's what we are all committed to", he said.

The new report was announced by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump.

And it pointed to the plight of ethnic Uighurs, a western China Muslim minority, being coerced into forced labor on a regular basis.

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The report, which covers 180 countries, is billed as the most comprehensive resource of efforts being done to stop trafficking.

Beijing says it has abolished state-sponsored forced labor, but gaps in the law allow traffickers to operate.

Xi's government had been warming to the Trump administration following a successful visit by Xi to the U.S. in April.

The president appeared last week to downplay his expectations, however, tweeting that '[w] hile I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out.

This confirms reports this week that China was expected to be downgraded.

The department's annual assessment of human trafficking includes more than 180 countries and has four categories.

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The Tier 3 designation could mean restrictions on certain kinds of foreign aid funding not tied to humanitarian or trade issues, according to the report. The State Department has urged China to release the activists immediately. "Instead, the State Department isn't even acknowledging Iraq has a child soldier problem", wrote Joe Becker, the advocacy director of the children's rights division at Human Rights Watch.

Several other countries also were downgraded to Tier 3 status: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Mali. He defended the country's efforts to combat trafficking and forced labor as "obvious for everyone to see".

The report "has continued to display misunderstanding about our legislative framework" against trafficking in persons and protection for foreign domestic helpers from exploitation, "despite our repeated clarifications and explanations", the spokesman said.

In Central America's Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) the report found that the countries' gangs often subject children to forced labor by pressuring them to sell and transport drugs.

In 2015, Senator Corker raised serious concern about questionable upgrades for countries in that year's TIP report. Myanmar is being promoted for its efforts against recruitment of child soldiers and its first prosecution of government officials under a human trafficking law.

The agency's 2017 report on human trafficking upgraded the statuses of Myanmar, Afghanistan, Malaysia and Qatar, while leaving those of Russia, Cuba and Thailand unchanged.

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Barack Obama managing 46 percent of the vote here in 2008. "He is projecting himself as a Republican-lite instead of a Democrat". But he said there is no doubt that "this is one occasion when we ought to say he deserves to take a victory lap".