Trump calls trade war with China 'a lit­tle squab­ble

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on 14 May la­beled the es­ca­lat­ing trade war with China "a lit­tle squab­ble" and again ac­cused Bei­jing of scut­tling an agree­ment when it was near com­ple­tion.

And al­though he said he has an "ex­tra­or­di­nary" re­la­tion­ship with Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping, Trump in­sisted he will not sign onto any deal un­less it is a good one.

"We're hav­ing a lit­tle squab­ble with China be­cause we've been treated very un­fairly for many decades," Trump told re­porters at the White House.

Last week, Trump moved to more than dou­ble the puni­tive du­ties on hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in Chi­nese mer­chan­dise and the lat­est round of US-China trade ne­go­ti­a­tions ended with­out a deal.

On 13 May, China hit back, an­nounc­ing a sharp in­crease in du­ties on thou­sands of US agri­cul­tural and man­u­fac­tured goods in re­tal­i­a­tion.

And the US has be­gun the process of car­ry­ing out the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent's threat to hit all im­ports from China, ex­tend­ing tar­iffs to another $300 bil­lion worth of Chi­nese mer­chan­dise. "We're look­ing at that very strongly," Trump said.

He said the tough US stance is work­ing and Bei­jing wants to make a deal, but he also blamed the Chi­nese lead­er­ship for the set­back in the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

"We had a deal that was very close and then they broke it. More than rene­go­ti­ate, they re­ally broke it. We can't have that hap­pen."

- World's piggy bank –

Trump launched the trade war last year to ex­tract pro­found eco­nomic re­forms from Bei­jing and re­duce the US trade deficit.

He ac­cused China of seek­ing to dom­i­nate global in­dus­tries through mas­sive state sub­si­dies and theft of American tech­nol­ogy -- in vi­o­la­tion of com­mit­ments it made upon join­ing the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion in 2001.

The United States and China have so far ex­changed tar­iffs on more than $360 bil­lion in two-way trade.

Since last year, the trade war has gut­ted US farm ex­ports to China and weighed on the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors in both coun­tries.

Ear­lier Tues­day, Trump pledged to help hard-hit American farm­ers caught in the mid­dle of the es­ca­lat­ing trade war.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion last year of­fered $12 bil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion to American farm­ers and has vowed to do more, us­ing the rev­enues from the new tar­iffs -- which he in­cor­rectly claims is paid by China rather than US im­porters -- to buy crops and sup­port prices.

"This money will come from the mas­sive Tar­iffs be­ing paid to the United States for al­low­ing China, and oth­ers, to do busi­ness with us. The Farm­ers have been 'for­got­ten' for many years. Their time is now!" Trump tweeted.

"We're the piggy bank ev­ery­body likes to take ad­van­tage of or take from. We can't let that hap­pen any­more," Trump then told re­porters.

He has made the US trade deficit a key fo­cus on his poli­cies, tak­ing the un­usual view that Amer­i­cans lose money by buy­ing prod­ucts from abroad.

Econ­o­mists are nearly unan­i­mous in say­ing trade ben­e­fits com­pa­nies and con­sumers by pro­vid­ing prod­ucts from coun­tries that make them more ef­fi­ciently and cheaply.

Trump said con­sumers can get around the tar­iffs by buy­ing from other providers, or com­pa­nies can move to the United States to man­u­fac­ture their goods.

"That's what I re­ally want. You want to know some­thing? We al­ways win. We al­ways win," he said.

Photo: EPA

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump talks to re­porters about the US-China trade war.

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