WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump signaled Friday that he has not ruled out the possibility of imposing tariffs on all Chinese imports to the U.S.
“I’m ready to go to 500 [billion dollars],” Trump told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
When asked about the political implications such a decision could trigger, Trump said: “I’m not doing this for politics, I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country. “We have been ripped off by China for a long time.”
China exported $505.5 billion worth of goods to the U.S. in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. exported $129.9 billion worth of goods to China that year.
A central tenant of Trump’s campaign was a promise to rectify trade imbalances.
The administration has used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on China, the EU, Canada and other countries. While many countries have responded with retaliatory tariffs, the ongoing tit-for-tat with China is of primary concern to many market analysts.
The U.S. and China are the world’s largest economies.
China is America’s largest creditor. Beijing owns most of America’s debt, which now exceeds $21 trillion.
The administration’s tariff regime has engendered bipartisan criticism.
The Senate overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution last week that seeks to reign in the president’s ability to impose tariffs on national security grounds.