Continuing to follow through on his campaign vow to get tough on countries which don’t play fair on trade, President Donald Trump on Thursday recommended slapping nearly $50 billion in new tariffs on products from China, as he accused the Chinese of stealing American technology, arguing that something must be done to address the growing U.S. trade deficit with Beijing.
“This has been long in the making,” the President told reporters at the White House, as he said his pledge to do something about unfair trade practices was just getting started.
“It’s probably one of the reasons I was elected, maybe one of the main reasons,” Mr. Trump said, as he has steadfastly resisted the calls of Republicans in Congress to stay away from tariffs on imported goods, which critics say are nothing more than a tax on American consumers.
“We’re doing things for this country which should have been done for many, many years,” the President added.
Trump Administration officials will now go over proposals for tariffs on all sorts of goods imported from China, much different than the targeted tariff plan that Mr. Trump approved earlier this month on imported steel and aluminum.
“It’s out of control,” the President said of the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China.
At the same event, Vice President Mike Pence said today’s move against China again signaled that the “era of economic surrender” is over when it comes to the United States.
“The United States of America is taking targeted and focused action to protect not only American jobs, but American technology,” Pence added.
The reaction in Congress was much more muted than a move to impose new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum coming into the country, when a number of Republicans denounced the idea of tariffs, arguing it could spark a trade war.
As the President’s decision was announced, Wall Street markets went down, with investors worried by a possible trade fight with the Chinese.
Meanwhile, late on Thursday night, the White House released a list of countries who will not see swift implementation of new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, giving them more time to negotiate trade deals with the United States.