As President Trump acknowledged Friday morning that proposed tariffs against China will cause some short-term “pain” to the U.S. economy and investors, the Dow was down 700 points Friday afternoon.
After China announced new tariffs on 106 U.S. products Wednesday in response to the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs on Chinese-made products, Trump said Thursday evening he has asked the United States trade representative to consider $100 billion in additional levies.
China’s Commerce Ministry reacted Friday, vowing a “major response” to the new tariffs from the U.S.
Trump tweeted later: “China, which is a great economic power, is considered a Developing Nation within the World Trade Organization. They therefore get tremendous perks and advantages, especially over the U.S. Does anybody think this is fair. We were badly represented. The WTO is unfair to U.S.”
In an interview with WABC radio in New York City Friday morning, Trump acknowledged the “pain” the policy is causing American citizens.
“I’m not saying there’s not gonna be any pain,” Trump said on “Bernie & Sid in the Morning.”
He also acknowledged that the markets “could lose a little bit.”
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the impact of the proposed tariffs on the market, where so many citizens have their retirements invested.
She said Trump was concerned about “countries that have been taking advantage of us for decades” and insisted the president has the long-term interest of the United States and its citizens in mind.
“We may have a little bit of short-term pain, but we’re going to have long-term success,” she told reporters.
At the White House daily briefing Friday, a reporter asked Sanders: “Does the president think that trade wars are easy to win? Is that still his view?”
She replied: “I think the president feels like if he is in charge of those negotiations, absolutely.
“He’s the best negotiator at the table. And we certainly have full confidence in his ability to help move things forward. I think if you look simply at the [deals] in which the president was able to get a much better deal for the United States,” Sanders said.
The White House spokeswoman said the U.S. has “made great progress on NAFTA, and we’re hoping to have great progress on the trade negotiations with China.”
JUST IN: Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow insists US is “not running a trade war” with China.
“Nothing’s happened, nothing has been executed … there’s no ‘there,’ there yet.” pic.twitter.com/Y9zrZS5gl1
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 6, 2018
Kudlow: ‘Just a proposed idea’
Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow insisted to reporters Friday that the administration is “not running a trade war.”
“This is just a proposed idea which will be vetted by U.S. [trade representative] and vetted by the American public, he said.
“So, nothing has happened. Nothing has been executed. There’s no ‘there’ there yet. But there will be.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said in an interview Friday with Fox News that he hopes the tariff talk is just “posturing,” saying “no one wins in a trade war.”
“We are exporters. We are weary of trade wars,” Gowdy said, according to the Washington Examiner. “I applaud the president for standing up for our manufacturers, but no one wins in a trade war and I hope all of this is just posturing for some more fairness from our trading partners.”
China: ‘Not afraid’ of trade war
On Friday, China’s Commerce Ministry urged the European Union to “act together” with Beijing to counter Washington moves to protect U.S. manufacturing.
“The Chinese side will follow suit to the end and at any cost, and will firmly attack, using new comprehensive countermeasures, to firmly defend the interest of the nation and its people,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website.
“We don’t want a trade war, but we are not afraid of one.”
Writing for The Week, economics and business correspondent Jeff Spross warned that while the tariff figures posed by Beijing and Washington “are still relatively trivial and mostly theoretical,” if the counter-moves spiral into all-out trade war, China has “a nuclear option.”
The U.S. is almost entirely dependent on China, he explained, for rare earth metals “that play crucial roles in everything from smart phones to electric car motors, hard drives, wind turbines, military radar, smart bombs, laser guidance, and more.”
Clamping down on these exports, he wrote, “would throw a massive wrench into America’s supply chain for high-tech consumer products, not to mention much of our military’s advanced weapons systems.”
China, meanwhile, has launched a display of its military might in the contested South China Sea, engaging 40 navy warships in a drill as three U.S. carrier battle groups converge on the waterway for their own exercises.
The six-day drill is led by China’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
Beijing has declared nearly 90 percent of the South China Sea as sovereign territory in defiance of a 2016 ruling by an international court of arbitration.