Donald Trump said he is “ready to go” with tariffs on an additional $500bn of imports from China.
“We are being taken advantage of and I don’t like it,” Trump said in an interview with CNBC. “We’re down a tremendous amount.”He added: “I’m ready to go to 500.”
China exported goods worth $505.5bn to the US in 2007, compared to $129.9bn of American goods sent to China.
Earlier this month, the US imposed 25% tariffs on $34bn of Chinese imports. China hit back with its own levies.
The Trump administration is threatening to impose fresh tariffs of 10% on another $200bn of Chinese goods, which Beijing has called “totally unacceptable.”
“I’m not doing this for politics, I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country,” the president said. “We have been ripped off by China for a long time.”
According to the US, China uses predatory practices in a push to challenge American technological dominance – and allegedly forces American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.
Mr Trump also tweeted that China and the European Union were manipulating their currencies, creating an uneven playing field.
“China, the European Union and others have been manipulating their currencies and interest rates lower, while the U.S. is raising rates while the dollars gets stronger and stronger with each passing day – taking away our big competitive edge. As usual, not a level playing field,” Mr Trump said.
After criticising the Federal Reserve for raising the cost of borrowing, he went on to say: “The United States should not be penalized because we are doing so well.
“Tightening now hurts all that we have done. The U.S. should be allowed to recapture what was lost due to illegal currency manipulation and BAD Trade Deals. Debt coming due & we are raising rates – Really?”
The escalating trade dispute threatens to derail the global economic recovery and growth, the International Monetary Fund warned this week. Mr Trump’s tariffs and retaliation by trading partners could cut global economic output by 0.5% from projections for 2020.