Trump complains about “STUPID TRADE” with China

President Donald Trump complained yet again about “STUPID TRADE” with China

President Donald Trump on Monday complained yet again about “STUPID TRADE” with China, doing little to calm investors anxious about the escalating trade conflict between the two economic superpowers.

In a tweet on Monday morning Trump said that when a Chinese-made vehicle is sent to the U.S., the tariff is only 2.5 per cent, while American cars exported to China are slapped with a 25 per cent tariff.

Trump asked, “Does that sound like free or fair trade.” Then answered, “No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE.”

China charges total duties of 25 per cent on most imported cars — a 10 per cent customs tariff plus a 15 per cent auto tax. Since December 2016, Beijing also has charged an additional 10 per cent on “super-luxury” vehicles priced above 1.3 million yuan ($200,000).

Trump’s top economic advisers have offered mixed messages as to the best approach with China. Beijing has threatened to retaliate if Washington follows through with its proposed tariffs, even as Trump emphasized his bond with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!”

But Trump did not explain why, amid a week of economic saber-rattling between the two countries that shook global markets, he felt confident a deal could be made.

The president made fixing the trade imbalance with China a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, where he frequently used incendiary language to describe how Beijing would “rape” the U.S. economically. But even as Trump cozied up to Xi and pressed China for help with derailing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, he has ratcheted up the economic pressure and threatened tariffs, a move opposed by many fellow Republicans.

Related: US raises prospect of Trump-Putin meeting at the White House

The Trump administration has said it is taking action as a crackdown on China’s theft of U.S. intellectual property. The U.S. bought more than $500 billion in goods from China last year and now is planning or considering penalties on some $150 billion of those imports. The U.S. sold about $130 billion in goods to China in 2017 and faces a potentially devastating hit to its market there if China responds in kind.

China has pledged to “counterattack with great strength” if Trump decides to follow through on his latest threat to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods — after an earlier announcement that targeted $50 billion. Beijing also declared that the current rhetoric made negotiations impossible, even as the White House suggested that the tariff talk was a way to spur China to the bargaining table.

The new White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said Sunday that a “coalition of the willing” — including Canada, much of Europe and Australia — was being formed to pressure China and that the U.S. would demand that the World Trade Organization, an arbiter of trade disputes, be stricter on Beijing. And he said that although the U.S. hoped to avoid taking action, Trump “was not bluffing.”

“This is a problem caused by China, not a problem caused by President Trump,” Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Related: PM and Trump talk: U.S. in hurry for NAFTA deal, using tariff threat as leverage

But he also downplayed the tariff threat as “part of the process,” suggesting on CNN that the impact would be “benign” and said he was hopeful that China would enter negotiations. Kudlow, who started his job a week ago after his predecessor, Gary Cohn, quit over the tariff plan, brushed aside the possibility of economic repercussions.

“I don’t think there’s any trade war in sight,” Kudlow told Fox.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he didn’t expect the tariffs to have a “meaningful impact on the economy” even as he left the door open for disruption. He allowed that there “could be” a trade war but said he didn’t anticipate one.

Another top White House economic adviser, Peter Navarro, took a tougher tack, declaring that China’s behaviour was “a wakeup call to Americans.”

“They are in competition with us over economic prosperity and national defence,” Navarro said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”Every day of the week China comes into our homes, our business and our government agencies. … This country is losing its strength even as China has grown its economy.”

Trump’s latest proposal intensified what was already shaping up to be the biggest trade battle in more than a half century.

Trump told advisers last week that he was unhappy with China’s decision to tax $50 billion in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft, in response to a U.S. move to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods. Rather than waiting weeks for the U.S. tariffs to be implemented, Trump backed a plan by Robert Lighthizer, his trade representative, to seek the enhanced tariffs.

The rising economic tensions pose a test to what has become Trump’s frequent dual-track foreign policy strategy: to establish close personal ties with another head of state even as his administration takes a harder line. The president has long talked up his friendship with Xi, whom he has praised for consolidating power in China despite its limits on democratic reforms.

Further escalation could be in the offing. The U.S. Treasury Department is working on plans to restrict Chinese technology investments in the U.S. And there is talk that the U.S. could also put limits on visas for Chinese who want to visit or study in this country.

For Trump, the dispute runs the risk of blunting the economic benefits of his tax overhaul, which is at the centre of congressional Republicans’ case for voters to keep them in power in the 2018 elections. China’s retaliation so far has targeted Midwest farmers, many of whom were bedrock Trump supporters.

Related: Trump’s early morning tweets: gun laws and North Korea

___

Associated Press writers Hope Yen and Thomas Strong contributed to this report.

Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Young Chilliwack girl raises more than $1,000 for family devastated by fire

Elementary school student’s $20 donation snowballs with matching funds

‘Fleet-footed’ Chilliwack Mountie catches B&E suspect in the act

Prolific thief David Stephen Wilgosh was already out on bail for a 2017 B&E

Transportation Plan for Chilliwack soon to be hot off the presses

The in-depth plan spans 17 chapters covering all the transportation-related challenges and projects

Chilliwack hockey fans, community, gather to pay tribute to Humboldt Broncos

Hundreds take part in Chilliwack Chiefs event at Prospera Centre

Crash closes Highway 1 near No. 3 Road

Both eastbound and westbound lanes affected

Unofficial “Mayor of Downtown Chilliwack” honoured by MLA in legislature

Harold Zinke has worked for 19 years to keep Chilliwack’s streets clean and events running smoothly

B.C. towns rank in top honeymoon destination worldwide

Vernon, Kaslo, Sunshine Coast and the Island hit Expedia.ca’s list of top 18 honeymoon destinations

Olympic gold now official for B.C. weightlifter

Christine Girard’s bronze medal from 2012 Olympics upgraded to gold, IOC announces

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becoming viral video

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

Om April 21, 1918 two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes engaged the enemy

VIDEO: Canadian teen lands invite to Royal wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited Faith Dickinson, founder of Cuddles for Cancer

B.C. liquor server wage to be phased out by 2021

Piece work pay for farm workers rises, but stays in place for now

Vancouver Whitecaps sign 16-year-old B.C. player

Grade 10 student from Langley joins MLS club

VIDEO: Family asks for help finding remains of Surrey man missing for 10 years

Police suspect foul play in Kellen McElwee’s disappearance a decade ago

Most Read