US President Donald Trump made a major economic policy speech on Tuesday and said the US government would push up tariffs dramatically on Chinese goods if trade deal negotiations fail again.
“If we don’t make a deal, we’re going to substantially raise those tariffs,” said Trump in a venue in New York. “They’re going to be raised very substantially.”
“A significant phase one trade deal with China could happen,” added Trump. “It could happen soon. But we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States and our workers and our great companies, because we’ve been hit very hard.”
US Census Bureau and Department of Agriculture data revealed the ramifications to American consumers of the tariffs that went into effect on September 1 on a batch of Chinese goods worth $112 billion. On that tariff increase alone Americans paid an additional $905 million.
“In the month of September alone, Americans paid a total of $7.1 billion in tariffs, more than any other amount in US history – a 59 percent increase from the same month last year and an increase of $600 million over last month,” read a statement from the US-based organization Tariffs Hurt the Heartland (THH).
Trump said China “cheated” the global trading system to leverage themselves in the most advantageous position since it entered the World Trade Organization in 2001.
“In particular, since China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization in 2001, no one has manipulated numbers better or taken advantage of the United States more,” said Trump. “And I won’t use this word, ‘cheated.’ I will not say the word, ‘cheated.’ But nobody has cheated better than China, but I will not say that.
Trump promised during his election campaign to fight China on intellectual property protection, unfair business practices and bring down the massive trade imbalance between the two economies. He blamed past US presidential administrations on allowing this to happen.
“And, you know, I can’t blame [the Chinese], if you can get away with it. This is why I blame our past leadership,” said Trump. “I don’t know how it’s gotten this way. So, we’ll have a trade deficit of — over the last, you know, long period of time, close to $800 billion. Whoever heard of this? Eight hundred billion dollars of trade deficit. It’s supposed to be the other way around.”
“Before my election, Washington politicians stood by and did nothing while China ransacked our companies, stole our intellectual property, subsidized their industries at the expense of ours, and dumped their products in a deliberate strategy to close American factories all across our land,” concluded Trump.
Meanwhile, China’s economy also faced slowdowns in the third quarter, but the government said it was due to the maturation of the economy.
“The Chinese economy slowed down in the third quarter, but it is no cause for panic. Although the country’s GDP growth cooled down to 6 percent in the third quarter, the figures should be read with calmness and composure,” stated state-owned People’s Daily.
The commentary said judging a nation’s economy by only speed of growth was old-fashioned and that a more accurate analysis of the health of an economy comes from observing several indicators.
“Naysayers have got used to judging the Chinese economy by speed, but that is too old-fashioned. Smart observers look at the Chinese economy through indicators of quality,” stated the commentary.
“The country’s economic structure was improved in the first three quarters. Consumption continued to be the mainstay in driving up demand, contributing 60.5 percent of the economic growth in the period,” it added.
Chinese exports to the US fell by $53 billion and US exports to China fell by $14.5 billion compared to last year, according to a UN economic report released last week.
“Of the $35 billion Chinese export losses in the US market, about $21 billion (or 63 per cent) was diverted to these countries and others, while the remaining $14 billion was either lost or captured by US producers,” stated the UN report.