Trump Says He's Ready to Slap Tariffs on All Chinese Imports

All of them. $500 billion's worth.


Carlos Barria/REUTERS/Newscom

President Donald Trump now says he's willing to slap tariffs on all imports from China.

"We are being taken advantage of and I don't like it," the president said in a taped interview that aired today. Trump told CNBC's Joe Kernen he was "ready to go to 500," referring to the roughly $500 billion of Chinese imports brought to the United States in 2017.

Trump has already imposed a 25 percent import tax on about $34 billion worth of Chinese tariffs. A second round of 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products will be the subject of administrative hearings next month.

Trump's comments follow on the heels of White House trade adviser Peter Navarro downplaying the harm Trump's tariffs have done to American businesses. Navarro told CNBC yesterday that the trade barriers are "much less disruptive than these headlines would suggest."

From motorcycles to washing machines, prices of a range of products are climbing thanks to the taxes Trump has imposed on goods coming from China. And to what end? In his interview, President Trump railed against the "deficits" that we have with our trading partners. But trade deficits mean almost nothing. They simply mean that Americans trade more money for Chinese goods than vice versa, largely because Chinese goods are cheaper, which in turn affords Americans a higher standard of living.

Beyond that, America's trade deficit with China is balanced by a huge capital investment surplus with China. In other words, we buy more goods from China, but China takes those dollars and re-invests them into our economy.

Source: American Enterprise Institute; Carpe Diem, Mark Perry

China is America's biggest trading partner. Can Congress afford to stand by while the president increases import taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, all on the basis of a flawed understanding of global trade? Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has already called on congress to nullify Trump's steel tariffs; and we can only hope that more of his colleagues will join his effort before the situation becomes more dire.

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  1. Can Congress afford to stand by while the president increases import taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, all on the basis of a flawed understanding of global trade?

    Maybe it’s time for Congress to fucking do something.

    1. Congress to the rescue, huh? Good luck with that, Reason.

    2. As John points out, absent a veto-proof majority the Democrats and RINOs in Congress are along for the ride to lower trade restrictions.

      I predict most trading partners will cave within 6 months. The remainder will pick sides and Trump will have lower trade restriction pre-2017 before June 2019.

      1. I’ll take that bet.

        1. Write is down then.

          Since its not a bet, make sure you wait to get paid. Lefties and their ignorance of the English language.

          When I offer a bet, I say “I bet….”.

          Besides there is not a Lefty like you on here that would ever give Trump credit for getting the USA lower trade restrictions with our trading partners.

          1. How would you measure your prediction?

            1. A single lower trade restriction than pre-Trump and Trump was successful in lowering trade restriction with our trading partners.

              Lowers taxes, lower tariffs, less regulation on companies like Google….

              1. So either Trump buckles under or our trade partners buckle under? A binary world, you think?

                How about, the rest of the world, nay, the rest of the Galaxy, ALL form trade agreements that exclude the USA? Trumpster-to-the-dumpster takes our baseball bat and goes home? Supposedly “for us”??? Well, they will ALL bypass our Orange-Haired Spoiled and Soiled Brat (think “Blut Und Boden, Blood and Soil”)… And the rest of the world will have FREE TRADE without us!!!

                Ya ever think about THAT?!?!? It’s already starting to happen!!!

                Tariffs == TAXES!!!! Yer solution is TAXES, ye Government -Almighty -Boot -Licker!!!!

                1. Let us TAX (tariff) the American people until our supposed enemies (trading partners) cry “Uncle”!!! Let us cut our noses off, to spite our faces, until those who compete with us, in the cut-of -your-noses-to -spite-your-faces contests, have NO more noses left!!! Is the insanity NOT yet apparent?!?!

                  The late 1920s and early 1930s and the Smoot-Hawley trade wars should have “larned us a lesson”, in the Great Depression… But NOOOOO, Government Almighty bootlickers will ALWAYS want to follow in the GLORIOUS footsteps of FDR and the USSR, and fix Government Almighty fuck-ups with ever MORE and MORE Government lLmighty bootlicking!!!

                  Makes me SICK!!!!

                  1. Tariffs didnt start the Great Depression.

                    If tariffs were the cause of the opposite of an economic expansion then the USA would have started its life in a depression.

                    The USA had tariffs to fund the tiny federal government from the get-go.

                    1. Maga

                2. World trade would be reduced to a puff of dust without the American consumers. Our country supports the exports of half the world. There aint no trade without the US.

    3. President Trump doesn’t have a “flawed understanding of global trade”. Of course, there are many facets to global trade including protecting jobs at home. If countries dump their excess production on the US at below cost, our own industry gets totally screwed costing tens of thousands of jobs like in . . . manufacturing.

      Trade imbalances on a large scale DO affect our balance sheet overall. This country has been getting screwed by ‘give-away’ trade deals for decades. Trump is the FIRST president to tackle the problem which will result in lower unemployment here at home and a steady economy overall.

  2. Congress can’t nullify shit. They could change the law but Trump would just veto it. Absent a veto proof majority, Congress can’t do anything.

    1. They can include it in another bill, or not vote on Kavanaugh until it’s signed. There are ways.

      1. Neither of those things will happen.

        1. But they could. Every Democrat would sign on to it. But, Ryan and McConnell won’t risk stepping against Trump.

      2. Republicans will never be doing anything Democrats want with regard to a new justice for the SCOTUS.

  3. Everyone talks about trade deficits, but trump is actually doing something about them.

    1. And trade restrictions.

      We would have had free trade if our trading partners had taken Trump up on his offer to end trade restrictions.

      1. Trump wouldn’t be able to deliver on that promise, and everybody knew it.

        1. Yet you Lefties believe Trump’s tweets as gospel.

          One thing is for sure is that Lefties dont want free trade. Ever.

          1. Some do, some don’t.

            I think we should eliminate our tariffs unilaterally. You want to sell us stuff for cheap? I love a sale! You want to dump steel? Great, we’ll build things.

            We would have had free trade if our trading partners had taken Trump up on his offer to end trade restrictions.

            That is not true. Trump can’t eliminate trade restrictions.

            1. Trump cant eliminate all trade restrictions because some trade restrictions include taxes which only congress can change.

              Trump can eliminate most trade restrictions. Anything Congress has allowed the Executive Branch to control.

          2. I’m puzzled by your constant assertion that Trump’s critics don’t think he’s routinely full of shit.

            1. Then why do Lefties freak out about what he says?

              You cannot think he is always full of shit and then get freaked out that he said something because you think its true.

              The fact is that Trump says factual things inside a cloud of hyperbole. The media tries to undermine the facts he mentions by saying that everything Trump says is a lie.

    2. Tariffs do not change trade deficits. Trade deficits are consumption over production. Tariffs change the makeup of the deficits, but not the level.
      Increased government deficit spending, however, does increase the trade deficit. So, he has done something about it. He’s made it worse.

      Don’t worry, it will improve when we hit a recession. Won’t be long now.

      1. Of course you want America to go under.

        Unfortunately for you, Trump will get credit for the economy getting better and better and better.

        It also blows your little Lefty schemes, to keep the Great Recession going, out of the water.

        1. Check the yield curve. We’re hitting the top of a bubble. Trump borrowed money from China, gave it to corporations, and they bought back shares from Chinese investors. Wages aren’t growing, we’re in a deficit fueled bubble. True — the market can be irrational longer than you can be solvent, but this ain’t gonna end well.

          1. Trump did all that, huh?

            He is a king.

        2. You know what’s funny? (S)He’s being polite and reasonable, while you’re throwing barrages of ad hominems and strawmen. Now guess who’s looking more credible and mature.

          1. What did you contribute to this discussion? Yeah nothing.

          2. Maga

  4. Beyond that, America’s trade deficit with China is balanced by a huge capital investment surplus with China. In other words, we buy more goods from China, but China takes those dollars and re-invests them into our economy.

    That is true. But so what? Unless China just gave us the goods, that would have to be true. The books have to balance. And one person’s “investment” is another person’s loan. Basically, we are borrowing the money from Cina and then sending it back to them when we buy their goods. Saying such a system is a road to wealth is a bit like saying “the more you buy the more you save”.

    1. They are happy sending us money at near zero rates. Should we turn that money down? Put in capital controls?

      I say if they want to give us money on favorable terms, we accept it.

      1. Sure. But that doesn’t mean that the best use of that money is buying their goods.

        1. If we don’t buy their goods, they don’t have dollars to give us, and we are poorer.

          1. Chanandler Bong- worst economist ever.

          2. Jebus help us. Unreal.

    2. Re: John,

      —The books have to balance—

      This isn’t accounting, John. You’re as clueless as the Pvssy Grabber-in-chief.

  5. You will never have free trade as long as you have central banking.

    1. Pretty much that.

  6. China has been flooding the New Jersey market with cheap, low-quality weed-infused sex toy oils but guess what? They’re all contaminated with lead.

    1. The lead keeps your pencil sharp.

  7. Wait, I thought this week we were supposed to be at war with Russia and/or the European Union?

    1. The narrative tide is changing

  8. Trump was ready to end all trade restrictions, if our trading partners ended their trade restrictions. They refused the offer.

    Some news gets more airtime than other news.

    1. You should get SCOTUS to issue an injunction to stop talking about the tariffs. I hear they are the only court with national jurisdiction.

      1. You sure are bitter about being wrong.

        I know something the Supreme Court WILL do, which is support Trump’s trade plan.

    2. Few politicians (Ron Paul is an interesting case, as Ken Schultz claims that he used idealism as a fig leaf to vote for restrictionist policies that played well back home) would dare to openly articulate the actually correct libertarian position on trade–that unilateral dropping of tariffs would leave a country better off than before even without reciprocation. But of course any “trade negotiations” toward “trade agreements,” if they are being conducted in an “ideologically correct” spirit, are gambits. (Gambits against opponents, of course, who themselves are playing as agents of domestic cronies, rather than the best interests of their people.)

      So it’s important to note that, while Trump is almost certainly not ideologically orthodox on trade, and has indeed breathed rather more rhetorical fire on the issue than the typical Presidential-party challenger, he is not really using traditional prewar-Republican type rhetoric to defend his actions, but rather strategic rhetoric. That’s certainly an important distinction that should be noted more. I think the pro-trade press fails to note it because it allows them to gloss over the point that there is really no rigorous case to be made, no economic law, indicating against trade wars–as there is against protectionism as an end in itself. I actually agree with them that Trump’s strategy is probably foolish, but I can’t really characterize that as more than a conjecture.

    3. Chances of that getting through congress? Zero. It was a bluff, and everybody knew it.

      1. Democrats would be against free trade and that is what Americans will remember come election 2018 and election 2020.

        1. Right. Donald Trump got elected as a free trader. Gotcha.


          1. I dont know everything Trump ran on. I do know that he ran on putting American first and that he would renegotiate trade deals since managed trade deals hurt American interests.

            1. MAGA!

              1. Maga

  9. Trump now says he’s willing to slap tariffs on all imports from China.

    Oh, *please* let him say “srap taliffs” at some point.

    1. Lasist hate speech.

  10. Go big or go home.

  11. Trump said repeatedly that He alone can fix things, suggesting only people with very good brains could hope to understand the method to His madness. O, ye of little faith, doubting the Donald. Why do you continue to believe that you are fit to run your own lives when the Donald knows so much better than you what’s for your own good? We all know that Top Men running things is far better than the free market, it’s just a matter of getting the right Top Men in charge. Well, now we have the right Top Men and still you refuse to believe in Him. Sad!

  12. I sense most of the world has determined that the Trump administration will constitute a four-year vacation from American leadership, competence, and morality. Our enemies, such as Mr. Putin, will try to make the most of that period. Our allies, such as Canada and most of Europe, will await resumption of America’s traditional, beneficial role. A few right-wing outliers, such as Turkey and Israel, seem likely to damage their long-term relationships with the United States by mistaking this stumble for a restructuring of American aspirations, methods, and mood.

    The Chinese leaders tend to be long-term thinkers. They may be bemused but largely unmoved by America’s walkabout.

    1. Why would we have enemies if we have such leadership, competence and morality?

    2. why would they sense that?? it is merely 4 years in an unbroken string of 2.5 decades of such nonsense. may we recover our senses in time & turn our backs on both Republican & Democrat parties, as they have turned their backs on common sense & on us.

    3. 8 year vacation from the Globalists selling us down the river


  13. Fuck you, cut tariffs.

  14. if Navarro were simply a moron, that’d be one thing. the fact that he hard-sells these destructive policies in the face of obvious contrary evidence is just sick & pathetic. what is his sick angle??

  15. Call me when loveconstitution takes Trump’s cock out of his ass.

    1. I know Trump makes you super upset and me pointing out how anti-American Lefties are really upsets you.

      If you take Hillarys dick out of your mouth, it will help with the TDS that you have.

      1. MAGA!

        1. Maga

          1. MAGA

  16. “Beyond that, America’s trade deficit with China is balanced by a huge capital investment surplus with China. In other words, we buy more goods from China, but China takes those dollars and re-invests them into our economy.”

    Investment = ownership = control = power

    I don’t think it’s good for America to be owned by Emperor Xi

    1. MAGA!

      1. Maga

        1. MAGA

  17. Nice article, I don’t think it’s good for America to be owned by Emperor Xi.
    hindi love shayari

  18. This is exactly what needs to happen if we want to break the Chinese. The fact is they have everything to lose, and we have only a bit to lose. If we can’t import sneakers from China, we can import them from Vietnam. If we don’t import Chinese sneakers they have NOBODY else to sell them to in the quantities we buy in.

    This is our leverage. We’re irreplaceable, and they are replaceable. I hope he has the balls to do it, but they need to make the tariffs high enough that China KNOWS it will send them into an instant depression if they don’t crack. That’s the only way to get them to open up their markets.

  19. And if you’re going to critique the IC for not declassifying such information and argue that it implies that there was no evidence beyond the Steele dossier, that logic works both ways – trump is POTUS, if the unredacted document sounds show no (good) evidence beyond the Steele dossier, why doesnt he declassify it all and prove it?
    antibody purification

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