Trump defends tariff threat against Mexico, calls it ‘beautiful thing’
President Trump called tariffs a “beautiful thing” and credited his use of them with forcing Mexico to reach a deal with the US on immigration and predicted the duties will also pressure China to give in on trade.
Trump defended employing tariffs as a negotiating tactic and said without them the US would be “absolutely at a competitive disadvantage the likes of which you’ve never seen.”
“People haven’t used tariffs, but tariffs are a beautiful thing when you are the piggy bank. When you have all the money, everyone is trying to get our money,” the president told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” when he called into the show on Monday.
His comments come days after Mexico agreed to several concessions, including sending thousands of national guard troops to the border with Guatemala to block illegal immigration, after he threatened to impose a series of 5 percent tariffs against Mexican imports.
The president said the same strategy will work in the US trade talks with China.
“The China deal is going to work out. You know why? Because of tariffs. Because right now China is getting absolutely decimated by countries that are leaving China, going to other countries, including our own,” Trump told the business show.
He also threatened to slap additional tariffs on China if President Xi Jinping does not meet with him at the G-20 summit in Japan later this month.
In the interview Trump lashed out at the Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, who in an earlier interview on CNBC accused Trump of the “weaponization” of tariffs.
Brilliant said they threaten the health of the US economy, hurt farmers and consumers, and create an unstable atmosphere for the US’ trading partners.
Trump said Brilliant is not protecting “our country” but companies who are members of the Chamber.
“I just want to say to the United States Chamber of Commerce, if we didn’t have tariffs, we wouldn’t have made a deal with Mexico. We got everything we wanted. And we’re going to be a great partner to Mexico now. Because now they respect us, they didn’t even respect us,” Trump said.
Washington and Beijing are negotiating a trade deal after the White House accused China of intellectual property theft and employing unfair trade practices.
The president last month imposed tariffs of up to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and has threatened to put duties on another $300 billion in Chinese imports.
In retaliation, China has slapped tariffs on $110 billion worth of US goods.
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