Trump threatens to slap China with USD 500 billion tariff

PTI

File photo of US President Donald Trump. PTI/AP

File photo of US President Donald Trump.
PTI/AP

President Donald Trump, on Friday, threatened to slap China with USD 500 billion worth of tariffs on import of their products into the US.

“I’m ready to go to 500,” Trump told CNBC News in an interview. He was referring to the USD 500 billion worth of import from China to the US every year.

Trump said he is doing this in the national interest. I’m not doing this for politics. I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country. We have been ripped off by China for a long time, and I told that to President Xi (Jinping), he said.

The US, he reiterated is being taken advantage of by countries like China. We are being taking advantage of and I don’t like it, he said. I would have a higher stock market right now.  It could be 80 per cent (since the election) if I didn’t want to do this, said the president.

“I don’t want them to be scared. I want them to do well,” the US president said of China. “I really like President Xi a lot. But it was very unfair.” The US-China spat is the largest and broadest of several trade fights picked by Trump.

In excerpts of the interview released on Thursday Trump had broken with the long-established executive branch practice of not commenting on the Federal Reserve’s decisions out of respect for its independence.

“I’m not thrilled,” Trump said, adding “Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again.”

After weeks of unproductive parleys, the US early this month slapped 25 per cent tariffs on about USD 34 billion of Chinese mechanical and technological products evoking a swift response from China which said it would hit back equally.