President Donald Trump repeated his threat to impose tariffs on US$267 billion worth of additional Chinese imports if China retaliates for the recent levies and other measures the United States has taken in the countries’ escalating trade war, Reuters reports.
Trump, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday, also said China is not ready to reach a deal on trade.
“China wants to make a deal, and I say they’re not ready yet,” Trump said. “I just say they’re not ready yet. And we’ve canceled a couple of meetings because I say they’re not ready to make a deal.”
When asked whether he was ready to levy new taxes in case of retaliation from China, Trump said: “Sure, absolutely.”
He added that the current US trade imbalance with China means “they’ve already retaliated.”
Last month Trump imposed tariffs on nearly US$200 billion of Chinese imports and then threatened more levies if China retaliated. China then hit back with tariffs on about US$60 billion of US imports.
Citing the growing trade war, the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019.
Meanwhile, Trump again criticized the Federal Reserve, telling reporters the central bank is going too fast in raising rates when inflation is minimal and government data points to a strong economy.
“Well, I like to see low interest rates. The Fed is doing what it thinks is necessary but I don’t like what they’re doing because we have inflation really checked, and we have a lot of good things happening,” Trump said.
“I just don’t think it’s necessary to go as fast.”
The Fed last raised interest rates in September and left intact its plans to steadily tighten monetary policy, as it forecast that the US economy would enjoy at least three more years of economic growth.
Currently US consumer price inflation is above 2 percent annually and the unemployment rate is the lowest in about 40 years.
“Also, very importantly I think, the numbers we’re producing are record-setting,” Trump added. “I don’t want to slow it down, even a little bit, especially when you don’t have the problem of inflation. And you don’t see that inflation coming back. Now, at some point it will and you go up.”
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