Trump Threatens to Hit all $500bln Chinese Imports with Tariffs

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The US President Donald Trump said he’s prepared to impose tariffs on all $505 billion in goods that China imports into the US if the trade war he ignited escalates.

Trump Threatens to Hit all $500bln Chinese Imports with Tariffs

President Trump says he’s prepared to impose tariffs on all $505 billion in goods that China imports into the US if the trade war he ignited escalates.

“I’m ready to go 500,” Trump told CNBC’s Joe Kernan in an interview that aired Friday on the network’s Squawk Box program, Reuters reported.

Trump has slapped tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods and threatened another $416 billion in duties.

Citing the $375 billion trade deficit the US runs with China, as well as large gaps with other countries, Trump said, “They are taking advantage of us… We have been ripped off by China for a long time.”

The president said Chinese officials told him “nobody (in past US administrations) would ever complain until you came along –me. They said, ‘Now you’re more than complaining. We don’t like what you’re doing.'”

Trump also complained about the tit-for-tat counter-tariffs China has imposed on US shipments to that country. “I raised 50 (billion dollars in tariffs) and (China) matched it. You don’t match it because otherwise we’ll always be behind.” He cited the $375 billion US trade deficit with China.

Trump also addressed the criticism and market fallout his take-no-prisoners approach on trade has generated.

“I would have a much easier life if I were to do it incorrectly,” Trump said. Noting that stock markets are up about 40% since he was elected, Trump said, “it could be up 80%” if he hadn’t started the trade skirmishes. “I’m not doing this for politics. I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country.”

The escalating trade fights with China as well as Mexico, Canada and the European Union would reduce economic growth by more than half a percentage point and employment by hundreds of thousands if all the duties and retaliatory measures are implemented, economists have said.

Trump also touted his administration’s new workers council that's set to train workers and help create 3.7 million jobs.

“We have tremendous numbers of people who really are phenomenal in every way but they’re not trained and are not qualified,” Trump said. “We need people who are skilled. We need people who are trained. It’s much different than it was 30 years ago and 40 years ago.

Trump signed an executive order Thursday creating the National Council for the American Worker to improve worker training and education. Companies such as Microsoft, Walmart, Home Depot and General Motors were among the companies and groups signing a pledge to create jobs over the next five years.

Of the economy broadly, Trump said, “I think it might be as good as it’s ever been – ever.”

The economy is expected to grow close to 3% this year. That could be the best performance since the recession but would fall short of the 4% to 5% gains during parts of the mid-2000s and 1990s. Growth is expected to slow next year, and many economists are forecasting a recession in 2020.

The interview made headlines Thursday when CNBC reported that Trump broke with tradition and criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates.

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