Sun, Sep 01, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Trump stays defiant before new tariffs, lashing his critics

‘EXCUSES!’US President Donald Trump said that the tariffs are not hurting US companies, but instead weeding out badly run and weak establishments


US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Friday.

Photo: Bloomberg

US President Donald Trump showed no sign that he would back down from new tariffs on more than US$110 billion of Chinese imports — set to take effect today — even as talks continue.

“They’re on,” Trump told reporters on Friday before heading to Camp David, the US presidential retreat.

Face-to-face talks between Chinese and US trade negotiators scheduled for Washington this month are still happening “as of now,” he said.

“We’re going to win the fight,” Trump said.

US stocks on Friday moved between gains and losses as investors weighed the effects of more import tariffs on American households, while US consumer sentiment slumped to the lowest level of Trump’s presidency.

The University of Michigan’s final sentiment index fell to 89.8 last month from a previously reported 92.1 and 98.4 in July.

The US plans to launch a 15 percent tariff on about US$110 billion in apparel, footwear and other Chinese imports today, with same duty on the balance of almost US$300 billion in toys, phones and laptops and other products delayed until Dec. 15.

Trump is also to increase the levy already in effect on US$250 billion of other Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent starting on Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

China has vowed additional tariffs on US$75 billion of US goods, including soybeans, automobiles and oil, with some taking effect today and the rest on Dec. 15.

Earlier on Friday, Trump blamed US companies for their inability to deal with a trade policy he said is aimed at reining in “unfair players.”

“Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs instead of themselves for bad management ... and who can really blame them for doing that? Excuses!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

In a separate tweet, he took aim at the US Federal Reserve again, writing that “we don’t have a Tariff problem (we are reigning in bad and/or unfair players), we have a Fed problem.”

Trump has repeatedly attacked the US central bank, blaming policymakers for the US dollar’s strength and harming the economy by raising interest rates and then moving to cut them too slowly.

While it is unclear who Trump is responding to in his criticism of businesses that blame their problems on tariffs, the largest US business lobby this week urged him and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to withdraw from the new tariffs and return to talks in good faith to end the escalating trade dispute.

“At this moment of uncertainty, it is critical that our leaders take decisive steps to bolster the economy and avoid actions that could turn talk of recession into reality,” Thomas Donohue, chief executive officer of the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a Washington Post opinion piece published on Thursday.

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