Donald Trump: U.S. in a ‘little squabble’ with China
President Trump showed no signs of backing down Tuesday from his trade dispute with China, saying America will “always win” and that he’s seriously considering additional tariffs on $325 billion worth of imports.
At the same time, he characterized the fight as a blowup that can be mended down the road and highlighted his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Stocks also rebounded Tuesday after a big Monday sell-off.
“We’re having a little squabble with China,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “I think it’s going to turn out extremely well, we’re in a very strong position.”
He and Mr. Xi will meet face-to-face in Japan next month at the Group of 20 summit, providing an opportunity to break the impasse, which Mr. Trump blamed on Chinese recalcitrance. He said a deal was near, but China backed away.
Potential 2020 Democratic rivals said Mr. Trump’s trade war is becoming unsustainable for American consumers.
“Quick reminder: a tariff is a tax. On Americans,” tweeted Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a presidential hopeful.
But on Capitol Hill, Mr. Trump got backing from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, who called China rapacious and urged the president to stand strong in resisting a bad deal.
“We’ve got to do something, about China or America will not be a strong economic power 10 or 15 years from now. I don’t fully agree with what the president has done because he has fought this against too many different countries. But being tough on China something I have advocated for decades,” the New York Democrat said.
Mr. Trump’s GOP allies on Capitol Hill also said the president was right to play hardball.
“We’ve been in a trade war with China for a long time. I’m glad that President Trump is standing up to them,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican.
For now, all sides are girding for rocky seas. China decided Monday to impose higher tariffs on $60 billion worth of American-made goods, starting June 1, as payback for Mr. Trump’s decision last week to jack up U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods to punish Beijing.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 600 points Monday on that news. But it rebounded by more than 200 points Tuesday, even as Mr. Trump talked about another set of tariffs on $325 billion worth of Chinese goods.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer is preparing a list of nearly 4,000 products that could be covered. The tit-for-tat is making retailers especially jittery, saying it amounts to a gamble with the economy and their livelihoods.
“No product category will be spared if this latest threat materializes. Food and home goods, clothing and shoes, toys and electronics Americans’ entire shopping cart will get more expensive,” the Retail Industry Leaders Association said of the latest threat.
The president says American businesses can avoid the ordeal by purchasing U.S.-made products. He also said he will protect farmers, who caught in the crosshairs, find it harder to sell their soybeans and other crops.
Mr. Trump tweeted that “great Patriot Farmers will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of what is happening now,” either through the Chinese buying more of their products or an assistance package from the U.S. government.
The administration extended a $12 b