WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump called Chinese trade practices vicious on Wednesday, his latest blast at the world’s second-biggest economy as the two sides slug it out in a deepening trade war.
“China is targeting our farmers, who they know I love and respect, as a way of getting me to continue allowing them to take advantage of the US,” Trump said on Twitter while his protectionist trade policies face increasing criticism from within his own Republican Party. “They are being vicious in what will be their failed attempt. We were being nice – until now! China made $517 billion on us last year.”
The United States earlier this month imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products, drawing a tit-for-tat response from Beijing, which targeted politically sensitive US agricultural products.
Washington has since threatened tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese exports, then upped that to $500 billion, prompting Beijing to vow further retaliation. Trump has also accused Beijing of manipulating its yuan currency to give its exporters an edge, a charge rejected by China.
On another front, Trump’s administration has hit even its close allies the European Union, Canada and Mexico with levies on steel and aluminium exports to the US, prompting retaliation against iconic US products including bourbon whisky and orange juice. Trump on Wednesday was to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who has dampened hopes that their talks would resolve the trade dispute.
Trump’s latest tweets came a day after his administration’s first acknowledgement that the aggressive trade actions are causing domestic pain, with the announcement of $12 billion in aid for farmers who have been the primary targets of Chinese retaliation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2018.