U.S. President Donald Trump sent a series of tweets Friday on the escalating trade war with China, as the U.S. increased tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that China vows to retaliate to.
“We have lost 500 Billion Dollars a year, for many years, on Crazy Trade with China. NO MORE!”
Trump went on to tweet that trade talks with China are proceeding in a “congenial manner” and “there is absolutely no need to rush” to finalize a trade agreement.
The president threatened to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $325 billion worth of Chinese goods. He noted that Washington sells Beijing about $100 billion worth of goods, and with the more than $100 billion in tariffs received, the U.S. will buy agricultural products from U.S. farmers and send them as humanitarian assistance to nations in need.
While some taxes are paid directly to the government when products are imported, these taxes, also known as customs duties, are frequently added to the price of the imported product. This means the taxes are paid by those who buy the product. In this case, it would be the American consumer.
Trump also chided China for trying to “redo” the deal at the last minute after the terms already had been set.
China said Friday it “deeply regrets” the increased tariffs and will take the “necessary countermeasures,” without giving any details.
The increases took effect as trade talks entered a second day in Washington between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The negotiators ended the first day of talks aimed at saving a trade deal even as Trump said he would proceed with “very heavy tariffs” on Chinese products.”
The White House said late Thursday that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mnuchin met with Trump to discuss the ongoing talks. Following the meeting, Lighthizer and Mnuchin had a working dinner with China’s vice premier and agreed to continue discussions on Friday.
Vice Premier Liu is leading the Chinese negotiating team in talks that threatened to collapse after the Trump administration accused Beijing of backtracking.
“We were getting very close to a deal, then they started to renegotiate the deal,” said Trump earlier in the day at the White House. “It was their idea to come back” for more talks ahead of Friday’s deadline for additional tariffs.
Trump said he also received “a beautiful letter” from Chinese President Xi Jinping that expressed a sentiment of “let’s work together.”
Trump told reporters he believes “tariffs for our country are very powerful,” and would benefit America’s economy.
Some economists, however, predict such tariffs would cut by half the rate of U.S. economic growth seen in the first quarter of this year.
David French of the U.S. National Retail Federation said in a VOA interview “a negotiating strategy based on tariffs is the wrong direction” and expressed hope the Chinese “make substantial concessions to avert this disaster.”
Shanghai University economics professor Ding Jianping told VOA the tariffs would also adversely impact the U.S. financial markets, which have climbed to record highs. Jianping said the record performance makes the markets “most vulnerable” because they are “not supported by science and technology.” He added, “The peak created by fiscal and monetary policy is unsustainable.”
The Trump administration hopes the new tariffs will force changes in China’s trade, subsidy and intellectual property practices.
The two sides have been unable to reach a deal due, in part, to differences over the enforcement of an agreement and a timeline for removing the tariffs.
Trump told reporters Thursday despite the additional tariffs, he is not looking for a trade war with Beijing.
“I want to get along with China,” he said.