WASHINGTON — President Trump announced today that he’s retaliating for China’s retaliation against last week’s tariff announcement.
“Trade between our nations, however, has been very unfair, for a very long time. This situation is no longer sustainable. China has, for example, long been engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” Trump declared last week.
The 25 percent tariff will be applied to $50 billion of goods from China that “contain industrially significant technologies,” he said.
Trump called the tariffs “essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs.”
China’s Commerce Ministry fired back in a statement, “The United States has kept changing its mind and now launched a trade war.”
China slapped a 25 percent tariff on 545 American imports including agricultural products, seafood, cars and whiskey. American farmers export about $14 billion worth of soybeans to China each year and have been voicing concerns about what a trade war could do to their livelihoods.
Trump issued a statement this evening noting that “unfortunately” China “apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology.”
“Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong,” Trump said. “This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods. This is unacceptable. Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods, and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States.”
The president said he directed the trade representative to “identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent.”
“After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced,” Trump continued. “If China increases its tariffs yet again, we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods. The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable.”
Trump once again lauded his “excellent relationship” with communist leader Xi Jinping and vowed they “will continue working together on many issues.”
House Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Bloomberg that he thinks “most Americans are willing to give this president some latitude to get the best kind of trade deal that benefits the United States,” adding, “I have concerns about tariffs in general. I’m a free-trade kind of guy.”
“This escalation, I mean that’s the classic, that’s a trade war. We don’t want that, I don’t think the president of the United States wants that. We’re trying to avoid that but at the same time we’re trying to get better agreements,” Jordan said. “…We’re trying to put a focus on who is the biggest offender. I think the president has the right goals in mind. Let’s just make sure we get this done as quickly as possible and done in a way that benefits the American people.”