The Latest: China rejects Trump claim it took US jobs away

(AP Photo/ Manish Swarup)

The latest on foreign reaction to President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress (all times EST):

4:25 a.m.

China says its participation in the World Trade Organization has not only benefited Beijing but global economic growth as well, implicitly rejecting President Donald Trump’s claim that it took factories away from the U.S.

Trump, in his speech to Congress, said the U.S. has “lost 60,000 factories” since China joined the multilateral trading system.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says China sees its economic ties with the U.S. as being mutually beneficial and said China is “willing to get along with the U.S. to jointly expand and deepen bilateral trade.”

U.S., European and other foreign companies complain of unfair competition in China, where they are barred from or sharply restricted in telecoms, information technology, finance and other promising industries in violation of Beijing’s free-trading pledges.

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4:20 a.m.

The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Kremlin did not feel left out because President Donald Trump in his address to Congress did not mention Russia even once.

Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that it is “natural” that the U.S. president “is busy with American affairs while our president Putin is busy with Russian affairs.”

Asked about Trump’s reference to an America “willing to find new friends,” Peskov said that between the U.S. and Russia “there is certainly an overlap of interests” although there are areas where the two countries have radically different views.

Peskov referred to fight on terrorism as one potential area of cooperation that both presidents mentioned when Putin called Trump in November to congratulate him on the election victory. He added that Moscow is “full of patience” and would like to see what steps Trump would be taking before drawing any conclusions about how Moscow and Washington could work together.

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4:15 a.m.

Japan has welcomed President Donald Trump’s pledge to propose a budget with one of the largest increases in defense spending in U.S. history.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that Japan would have to see what the actual figure is, but that he expected it to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance and contribute to global stability.

Japanese officials were initially worried that America’s commitment to the alliance might waver under Trump. But recent statements by Trump and others in his administration have reassured them.

They consider the alliance vital given the North Korea missile and nuclear threat and China’s military expansion in the Pacific.

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2:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump in his speech said that stiff 100 percent import duties on American company Harley-Davidson’s expensive motorcycles were hurting the manufacturer.

But in India, one of the countries where the luxury bikes are taxed at that rate, sales have grown by a brisk 30 percent in the past two years.

The Harley-Davidson India said Wednesday that their dealerships have expanded to 27 in 17 cities across the country.

The American motorcycle company isn’t the only one attracting high import duties. All luxury motorcycles and cars are taxed between 100-125 percent in India. Duties for used luxury cars are even higher to protect local car and bike manufacturers.

Harley-Davidson bikes cost between 550,000 rupees ($8,100) and 5.4 million rupees ($78,000). The average price of the local motorcycle is 60,000 rupees ($890).

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This story corrects number of cities with shops in India. ___

11:50 p.m.

In his speech, Trump said the U.S. should adopt a “merit-based immigration system” such as those used by Canada and Australia. So how do such systems work?

Australia, with its population of 24 million, caps the number of permanent migration visas to 190,000 per year. Those visas fall into three broad categories: skilled, family and humanitarian. Two-thirds of permanent residency visas are allocated to skilled migrants, in a bid to attract highly employable people.

Certain skilled visas are governed by a points-based system that considers the applicant’s English proficiency, age, experience and occupation. For example, migrants who have a PhD would receive more points than someone with no college education.

Those attempting to migrate on a family visa are not subject to a skills test, but must be sponsored by close relatives who are either Australians citizens or permanent residents, or certain New Zealand citizens living in Australia. Humanitarian visas are offered to refugees.

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11:15 p.m.

A Mexican expert in border security says Mexico should follow up on President Donald Trump’s mention of immigration reform during his address to the U.S. Congress.

Jose Maria Ramos Garcia at the College of the Northern Border in Tijuana cites Trump’s mention of a merit-based immigration reform. Ramos says he sensed that Trump is talking about a solution for the “Dreamers,” the migrants brought across the border illegally as children and who have spent nearly all their lives in the United States.

Ramos also heard an opening for U.S.-Mexican cooperation against drug trafficking, noting that Trump spoke of the border wall in the context of stopping drugs rather than explicitly referring to migrants.

He suggests that subtle change could be the result of meetings in Mexico last week between U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly with their Mexican counterparts.

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10:50 p.m.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is urging Americans to stand up to Donald Trump and suggests that the U.S. president build a wall around himself.

As he has done previously, Fox made the comments while he jabbed at Trump via Twitter during the president’s address Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress.

Trump did not mention Mexico by name in his speech, but he returned to his promise to build a “great, great wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border and protect American jobs. Trump did not repeat his vow to make Mexico pay for the wall, something that the Mexican government has repeatedly said it will never do.

The Mexican government offered no immediate comment on Trump’s speech.

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