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

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)

Responses

  1. “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.

  2. “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 Electric – up to 200 km.
    A 4MW wind power plant produces enough energy to drive 200 electric FE trucks. In other words, one full turn of the windmill rotor moves a truck 1.5 kilometres saving 2,500 cubic meters of fuel per year.
    Electric trucks are 3-5 times more energy efficient than equivalent diesel trucks reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tonnes CO2 per year (provided batteries are charged with wind power energy). I presume, here, that they are referring to each turbine of this size.

    Remember also that this is still nacent technology in modern terms and conditions (electric vehicles are more than 100 years old, but now manufacturers are finally getting serious). We have a long, long development road ahead of us (GND etc), so charge times and capacity and other efficiencies will get better, and the US needs to be at the forefront of this development rather than needlessly subsidizing coal and other mature or dying fossil fuel industries.

    I hope you aren’t so confused now.

  3. 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??

  4. 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.

    1. Can you think of a country that respects the U.S. today? Was the R party considering long term goals when they eliminated moral character and emotional stability in presidential nominees?

  5. 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, Polynesians, and parts of Alsace-Lorraine (there are even specialized recipes). Some cultures even eat cats, bugs, or moldy, spoiled milk (i.e. cheese).

    I have owned and own dogs. I do NOT eat them. We should consider ourselves fortunate we get to pick and choose what we eat AND never look down on what others do. (I’m ambivalent about cannibalism).

    1. perhaps a visit to certain parts of Africa would change your mind?
      I’m sure there are some areas still willing to invite you for dinner.

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

    1. So do the Filipinos. That’s why I was instructed to not take our two dogs to Clark Air Base in the mid-1960’s. Upset my wife and kids when we had to give the family pets away.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 nations NOT China, either for resale or out of spite.

  9. How about we use our own oil and pull out of the middle east? Pull out our military also. Use them for our own border. Electric cars are supposed to be the future says just about everyone. It may hurt now but the Chinese have been riding us dry for a long time. Our country has a lot of problems, its too bad the Democrats don’t help in any way. They just obstruct and hate. Term limits are needed badly!

    1. 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.

  10. Joe should stay in his lane. He was successful as part of The Eagles and even a solo career. HIs single term in Congress, during which he did ???? indicates his political acumen.

  11. How is it that Trump can unilaterally raise the tariff? Doesn’t Congress have to write up a bill etc.?

    1. Paul, a little bit of research will tell you why he can do so.

    1. David,

      Which jobs? That’s a serious and critical question.

      Did you know that the greatest job growth is in service jobs? Consider fetching lattes, walking people’s dogs, picking up their food orders and delivering them, etc.

      Are you talking about manufacturing jobs? Then vote against those who strangle manufacturing with onerous regulations and red tape. The US is arguably the world’s greatest innovator. Let’s keep the results and jobs here, instead of sending them offshore. Consider Apple.

      Tell those in lower-schools to stop pushing college-industrial complex as the one path and that there are viable, well-paying careers that DO NOT REQUIRE a degree. bonus: reduce the college debt-load.

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