U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had strong words for countries that do business with North Korea on Wednesday.
He told reporters that he has prepared an executive order that would bring sanctions for any country that trades with the hermit kingdom — including China, America’s biggest trading partner, The Hill reported.
Coverage of North Korea on Globalnews.ca:
Mnuchin reiterated the possibility of sanctions in a Wednesday interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier.
“We can stop trade with any country that does business with North Korea,” he said.
“You’re saying stopping trade with China?” Baier asked.
“Stopping trade with anybody. Nobody would be off the table,” Mnuchin responded.
The treasury secretary’s remarks came after the UN Security Council on Monday unanimously agreed to new sanctions on North Korea after the country tested what it said was a hydrogen bomb.
North Korea was defiant in the face of the new sanctions, saying that the measures are aimed at “completely suffocating [the] state and people through full-scale economic blockade.”
Mnuchin had warned China of “secondary sanctions” if it didn’t follow through with the measures.
Stopping trade with China would, however, cost big.
The U.S. sent over $115 billion worth of exports to China last year; it also brought in over $462 billion in imports, for a trade deficit of about $347 billion.
To put that in perspective, U.S. GDP last year was $18.57 trillion last year, according to the World Bank.
Five U.S. states had China as their biggest export destinations, and many more had it as one of their top five destinations.
Many of these states — 25 in total — voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
There’s little doubt of the strong stand that the U.S., and other countries, want to take with North Korea.
But it’s obvious that a decision to cut off trade ties with a major partner like China would come with significant costs, even for states that put Trump in the Oval Office.
The following Trump-voting states had China as their top export destinations in 2016 (export amounts in brackets):
The following Trump-voting states had China as one of their top five export markets in 2016:
(Export figures came from the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce)
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