President Donald Trump on Thursday announced new measures to impose tens of billions of dollars on imports from China and other penalties designed to curb what the president sees as unfair trade practices.
The president signed a memorandum ordering the U.S. Trade Representative and the Treasury Department to take wide action on limiting aggressive trade policies from China.
“It is going to make us a much stronger, much richer, nation,” Trump said shortly before signing the memorandum into effect. He argued for the importance of reciprocal taxes on trade between the U.S. and China and voiced optimism that the new measures will lead to progress and equality in trade with China as well as other nations.
“We are in the midst of very major and very positive negotiations,” Trump said. “Positive for the United States and actually very positive for other countries also.”
The tariffs, which total about $50 billion, come after a section 301 investigation found that China's practice of stealing U.S. intellectual property costs U.S. markets billions.
“It is the largest deficit of any country in the history of our world. It is out of control,” the president added. “We have a tremendous intellectual property theft situation going on which likewise is hundreds of billions of dollars. And that is on a yearly basis. I've spoken to the president. I've spoken to representatives of China. We've been dealing with it very seriously.”
The president was joined at the signing by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Vice President Mike Pence, and Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, who also offered their comments on the new measures.
“This is the first of many,” Trump said moments before signing the memorandum.
These new tariffs are designed to target Chinese trade more directly. They land after previous tariffs signed by Trump on steel and aluminum imports, a broader move affecting many U.S. trade partners that has received intense criticism amid concerns it may ignite a trade war.
Watch Trump's remarks above, via Fox News.