STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump: We have largest trade deficit in world

President Trump announces new tariffs against China.

Posted: Mar 24, 2018 1:11 PM
Updated: Mar 24, 2018 1:11 PM

President Donald Trump launched the next salvo in his widening war on Chinese trade abuses, this time taking aim at China's unfair seizure of US intellectual property.

Trump on Thursday directed the US trade representative to level tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese imports following a seven-month investigation into the intellectual property theft, which has been a longstanding point of contention in US-China trade relations.

In addition to the tariffs, the US also plans to impose new investment restrictions, take action against China at the World Trade Organization and the Treasury Department also will propose additional measures.

Trump signaled the tariffs would affect "about $60 billion" of Chinese imports, but administration officials said the figure would be closer to $50 billion.

"We have a tremendous intellectual property theft problem," Trump said. "It's going to make us a much stronger, much richer nation."

The move, which comes on the heels of the administration's steel and aluminum tariffs that also took aim at China, is heightening concerns of a global trade war that could destabilize the global economy -- fears the Trump administration has repeatedly brushed off.

China announced its own tariffs Friday on $3 billion worth of US imports, which Beijing said was in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs announced earlier this month.

China's embassy in Washington indicated the country was up for a fight in a statement late Thursday, which said "China's not afraid of and will not recoil from a trade war."

'First of many'

Trump on Thursday signed a memorandum announcing the trade actions, invoking Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, which formed the basis for the administration's investigation.

Before signing the measure, Trump lamented the US' multi-hundred billion dollar trade deficit with China and said the action would be "the first of many."

Trump prefaced his trade action by insisting he views China as a "friend" and said he has "tremendous respect" for Chinese President Xi Jinping, as he flicked to China's support in pressuring North Korea to denuclearize.

"They are helping us a lot in North Korea," Trump said. "But we have a trade deficit ... there are many different ways of looking at it, but no matter which way you look at it, it is the largest trade deficit of any country in the history of the world."

Trump said the US would continue to engage diplomatically with China to reduce the trade imbalance, even as he signed an action that is likely to exacerbate tensions between the two countries.

Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, said the tariffs would focus on theft of US technologies and said Trump "concluded that we should put in place tariffs on appropriate products" following the investigation.

"This is an extremely important action. Very significant and very important for the future of the country, really across industries," Lighthizer said.

The investigation concluded that China has stolen or coerced US companies into turning over their intellectual property through a series of state-run structural maneuvers, including its requirement that foreign companies partner with Chinese companies to access the Chinese market, said Everett Eissenstat, the deputy director of the National Economic Council for international economic affairs.

The investigation also assessed that China has stolen US intellectual property by hacking US computer networks, though senior administration officials said Thursday's tariffs would not account for the value of that intellectual property theft, which they estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

The incoming tariffs are the most significant to date from a President who campaigned on a promise to correct the US' global trade imbalance, particularly with China, and to revitalize US manufacturing. The move is just the latest sign that Trump is intent on putting his protectionist rhetoric into action despite concerns from economists and financial analysts, including within his own administration.

"It's probably one of the reasons I was elected. Probably the main reason," Trump said Thursday.

Beyond the threat of a far-reaching trade war, economists have warned US consumers are likely to bear the cost of the tariffs and worries about Chinese retaliation are mounting. A senior administration official said the administration believed the tariffs would result in only "minimal effects" on US consumers.

"In terms of the broader calculus of the harm that is done by what is the theft ... of intellectual property is almost incalculable," the official said.

Chinese reaction

China's Commerce Ministry on Friday urged the US to avoid placing bilateral trade ties in danger but said it was not afraid of a trade war.

"We are confident in our capability to face up to any challenge. We urge the US to cease and desist," the ministry said.

The ministry also announced it planned to impose tariffs on $3 billion worth of US imports, including pork and steel pipes, although these relatively small measures were a response to separate US tariffs on steel and aluminum products announced earlier this month.

Ahead of Trump's announcement, China's Premier Li Keqiang had warned: "A trade war does no good to anyone. There is no winner."

The Trump administration, though, has said it is simply taking long-overdue action following years of unfair Chinese trading practices that they argue previous administrations have insufficiently countered.

Peter Navarro, Trump's hawkish top trade adviser, said the administration had decided on the tariffs in lockstep and said the US opted to take tariff actions after dialogues with China over the last 15 years have failed to produce significant changes in Chinese behavior.

"Administrations before us and this administration has tried very, very hard to work with the Chinese," Navarro said. "Talk is not cheap. It has been very expensive to the American people."

The tariffs will not take immediate effect. Instead, the US trade representative will publish a list of targeted goods within 15 days and will then allow for a 30-day public comment period.

Pressed about the impact on US consumers, a senior administration official said the administration believed the tariffs would result in only "minimal effects" on US consumers.

"In terms of the broader calculus of the harm that is done by what is the theft ... of intellectual property is almost incalculable," the official said.

It was not immediately clear what percentage tariff the US would assess on the affected Chinese imports.

Navarro said the US was "simply strategically defending itself against this particular form of economic aggression" and said the tariffs were neatly tailored to "correspond to the harm" Chinese actions with regard to intellectual property have done to the US.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604184

Reported Deaths: 7620
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1248631774
Ramsey52480895
Dakota46804470
Anoka42746458
Washington27416291
Stearns22552224
St. Louis18137312
Scott17548135
Wright16370149
Olmsted13391102
Sherburne1201295
Carver1066448
Clay825892
Rice8196110
Blue Earth762543
Crow Wing681594
Kandiyohi667885
Chisago619752
Otter Tail585884
Benton582998
Goodhue483874
Douglas475381
Mower470733
Winona461251
Itasca459263
Isanti439964
McLeod430361
Morrison424662
Nobles407950
Beltrami407561
Steele397616
Polk389072
Becker386655
Lyon363853
Carlton352756
Freeborn346932
Pine335023
Nicollet331045
Mille Lacs311654
Brown307840
Le Sueur297226
Cass286032
Todd285632
Meeker263142
Waseca238023
Martin235332
Roseau211021
Wabasha20783
Hubbard196441
Dodge18783
Renville182446
Redwood176338
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena162823
Fillmore157410
Faribault154419
Chippewa153938
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138837
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122612
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11296
Murray107010
Swift106918
Koochiching95217
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Wilkin83213
Lake83120
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5938
Lincoln5843
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48293
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 370914

Reported Deaths: 6048
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58232640
Linn21204339
Scott20306247
Black Hawk16119312
Woodbury15238230
Johnson1461585
Dubuque13506211
Dallas1128999
Pottawattamie11223174
Story1071448
Warren583991
Clinton561493
Cerro Gordo553593
Sioux517074
Webster515494
Muscatine4880106
Marshall486676
Des Moines467271
Wapello4337122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth402981
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300957
Henry294637
Bremer288261
Carroll286852
Crawford268540
Boone268434
Benton259655
Washington256751
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232351
Jackson225242
Clay216627
Kossuth216166
Tama211871
Delaware210943
Winneshiek198535
Page194522
Buchanan193733
Cedar192223
Hardin187444
Fayette186543
Wright185940
Hamilton181851
Harrison179973
Clayton171057
Butler166235
Madison164619
Mills163724
Floyd163342
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152652
Hancock150234
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133435
Shelby131537
Sac130920
Union129935
Louisa129749
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124717
Franklin123323
Guthrie123232
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113523
Howard104922
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96532
Monroe96330
Unassigned9560
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7598
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Van Buren56418
Ringgold56324
Wayne54423
Audubon53411
Adams3444
Rochester
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 79°
Mason City
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 72°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Charles City
Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Father's Day is looking rather stormy
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

City Council weighs adding more camera downtown

Image

Aaron's Friday Night Forecast (6/18/21)

Image

Family Service Rochester looking for volunteers

Image

Rochester Preps

Image

Hole In One

Image

Vaccine rate slowing in MN

Image

Minnesota DNR says we can all double-down on water safety this year

Image

There's a nationwide blood shortage

Image

Juneteenth is now a federal holiday

Image

Aaron's Friday Forecast (6/18/21)

Community Events