Dutch Eye ‘Crucial’ Chinese Trade as Trump Shakes Global Order

  • Mark Rutte speaks to Bloomberg News at World Economic Forum
  • Rutte advocates dealing with Trump on ‘step-by-step’ basis

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his country will leverage its close trading partnership with China while taking a “step-by-step” approach to U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to reshape the international order.

“We are in very close contact with the Chinese,” Rutte, 50, told Bloomberg News in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “China is crucial and that is why we have very strong political relations with” the Chinese government, he said.

Rutte: Need to Maintain Working Relationship With U.S.

Rutte, who highlighted the strength of foreign direct investment between China and the Netherlands, called for lower global trade barriers, putting him at odds with Trump, who slapped tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines earlier this week. Trump arrived in Davos on Thursday, where he was expected to tout his “America First” policies, which critics have called protectionist.

“We should carefully look into what he’s doing and if necessary of course we have to take steps but not all of a sudden,” Rutte said. “The most crucial thing with Donald Trump is to have a debate on the necessity of an international order in which we have a strong UN, in which we have a strong World Trade Organization, that we have a legal base under what we are doing worldwide.”

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