Trump Regrets Not Raising Tariffs on China Higher, White House Says

President Donald Trump looks around as photographers take photos ahead of a working session on World Economy and Trade on the second day of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France August 25, 2019. Markus Schreiber/Pool via REUTERS

President Donald Trump wishes he had raised tariffs on Beijing even higher, the White House said on Sunday, seeking to clarify earlier remarks that suggested Trump regretted his decision on Friday to escalate his trade war with China.

Trump raised eyebrows during a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines of a G7 summit, when he responded in the affirmative to questions from reporters on whether he had had any second thoughts about raising tariffs on Chinese goods by 5%.

“President Trump responded in the affirmative – because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Trump announced the additional duty on some $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods on Friday, hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.

The moves were the latest round in a tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies that has damaged global growth, upset allies, and raised market fears that the world economy will tip into a recession.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday he did not expect China to retaliate further.

“I think his was an action to respond to their action. So I doubt whether they’re going to take another step,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” program. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

In a separate appearance on Sunday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had become “enemies” on trade, despite a good relationship in other areas.

“President Xi is still his friend,” he said on the “Fox News Sunday” program.

“But as it relates to financial issues and trade, we have become enemies. We’re not making progress,” said Mnuchin, who has been helping lead trade talks with China.

‘SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT EVERYTHING’

During his meeting with Johnson on Sunday in France, Trump was asked if he had second thoughts about his latest escalation.

“Yeah, sure. Why not?” he said.

The reporter repeated the question and Trump replied: “Might as well. Might as well.”

A second reporter followed up again, asking if he had second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China.

“I have second thoughts about everything,” Trump responded.

In addition to his decision to jack up tariffs, Trump said he was ordering U.S. companies to find alternatives to doing business in China and move operations back to the United States.

Mnuchin said Trump would have the authority to order companies out of China under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act if he declared a national emergency.

Trump said he was not considering taking that action at this time, however.

“I could declare a national emergency. I think when they steal and take out, and — intellectual property theft, anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion a year, and where we have a total loss of almost a trillion dollars a year … in many ways, that’s an emergency,” he said.

“I have no plan right now. Actually, we’re getting along very well with China right now. We’re talking,” Trump said.

Still, Mnuchin and Kudlow said Trump wanted U.S. businesses to start looking to shift investments away from China.

“We want them to be in places where they’re trading partners that respect us and trade with us fairly,” Mnuchin said, saying U.S. businesses would be better off relying less on China in the event the trade war lasts for a long time.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason in Biarritz; Additional reporting by David Morgan and Ginger Gibson in Washington; Editing by Toby Chopra, Tim Ahmann and Sonya Hepinstall)

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General Confusion
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“Can you think of a country that respects the U.S. today?” Phyllis

Don’t forget, too, that some people confuse fear with deference and respect.

General Confusion
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“That electric vehicle nightmare won’t fly. I cannot envision an 80,000 pound semi driving coast to coast on battery power; maybe stopping every 20 miles or so to recharge the batteries. Would take months to make a delivery rather than 3 or 4 days.” Confused James My guess is that you don’t KNOW for sure what you are talking about. You are guessing. Do you know who DOES know what they are talking about, better than you and me combined (perish THAT thought)? Volvo. According to a cursory look: Range: Volvo FL Electric – up to 300 km; Volvo FE… Read more »

Phyllis Softa
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Screw, why did you not share with Paulthecabdriver what conditions the Congress allows a POTUS to unilaterally impose tariffs? National security. Even in Trump world, Canada and the UK being national security risks is a stretch. If Congressional Republicans wish to give away their congressional responsibility for appropriations, declaring war, and oversight, WHY would they be opposed to giving the current and all future POTUS their responsibility to regulate trade??

Jill
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It’s about time the U.S. got some respect! Well done. The left will misrepresent everything about Trump at every turn. They don’t‘t think about long term goals. Maybe when the left bags on Trump enough, he will pull out the Hillary card to stop them in their tracks.

Screwtape
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Hector, That’s a really intolerant attitude. Consider that the Spaniards and Portugese LOVE pork. It’s tasty and a great source of protein. BUT they also started doing it as a big FU to the Muslim Moors during the Reconquista. They also used it, later, to persecute Conversos (Jews and Muslims) during the Inquisition. Hindu’s would consider you a savage for eating beef. (observant) Jews and Muslims would frown on you for enjoying a delicious ribs. Consider that guinea pigs (cui) are delicious (properly grilled) and were eaten by the Incas. “Eskimos” eat dog. So did the Hawaiians, Native Americans, Egyptians,… Read more »

Hector Espada
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The Chinese eat dogs. That’s reason enough for me personally to do my best to boycott the crummy products they produce.

Screwtape
Member

S.H., (I won’t ask what that’s an abbreviation for. Some guesses come to mind, but I’m keeping this G-rated)

Maybe he IS lying. On purpose. Maybe he’s indirectly telling the PRC that there’s more to come.

In poker terms it’s called bluffing, except he has the cards to back it up.

Screwtape
Member

At least three historic, congressional acts grant the president unilateral power to levy tariffs and do so WITHOUT Congress. If Trump wanted to, he could raise tariffs to 100-percent or more on Chinese goods, exactly as they do on some of our goods. China’s economy is hurting. It is also the world’s largest consumer of pork and facing a severe shortage due to swine flu. Hungry people require more government force to control. q.v. Venezuela. A possible solution would be for Trump to have the US farmers use the ethanol corn to raise pigs. This can then be sold to… Read more »

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