Trump Floats Possibility of Imposing Tariffs Above 60 Percent on Chinese Imports If Reelected

Former President Donald Trump said he might impose tariffs of more than 60 percent on imports from China if reelected in November.

In an appearance on the Fox News program “Sunday Morning Futures” aired on Feb. 4, President Trump was asked about a Washington Post report that cited sources, claiming that the former president allegedly talked with advisers about the prospect of imposing a flat 60 percent tariff on all Chinese goods if reelected.

“No, I would say maybe it’s going to be more than that,” President Trump responded.

Unlike his predecessors, who pursued a policy of engagement with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), President Trump confronted the communist regime in China head-on during his four years of presidency, pushing back against its espionage activities and unfair trade practices.

The former president began hitting China with Section 301 tariffs in 2018 after a United States Trade Representative (USTR) investigation found that the regime was engaging in illegal practices, including excessive government subsidies and intellectual property theft.

The Trump administration implemented a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. Following retaliation from Beijing, the administration imposed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods, as well as 7.5 percent tariffs on an additional $120 billion worth of goods.

China and the United States signed a trade deal in January 2020. Most of the Trump-era tariffs remain in effect under the Biden administration.

Tariffs

Also, in 2018, the Trump administration imposed Section 232 tariffs on certain imports of steel and aluminum products, following an investigation by the Department of Commerce.

In March last year, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) published a report analyzing the economic impact of Section 232 and 301 tariffs on U.S. industries. It found that Section 301 tariffs decreased Chinese imports on average from 2018 to 2021. Meanwhile, the tariffs increased U.S. production by 0.4 percent and prices of U.S. goods by 0.2 percent.

“The USITC report proves what we have been saying at CPA [Coalition for a Prosperous America] for more than a decade: tariffs are a critical reshoring tool to stimulate domestic production, avoid future inflation and to reduce dependence on foreign supply chains,” CPA CEO Michael Stumo said in a statement in March 2023 following the release of the report.

“The USITC’s finding that the China tariffs increased domestic production with little effect on prices dispels the myths from multinational importers and their lobbyists that American consumers pay for the China tariffs.”

In December, the House Select Committee on the CCP called for the United States to “reset” its economic ties with China by raising tariffs and cutting off the flow of capital between the two economies.

Issues

During the Fox interview, President Trump said he believed China would try to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.

“I think they will, and they won’t be interfering on my behalf. We should go same-day voting, paper ballots, voter ID, and no mail-in ballots,” the former president said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, during a congressional hearing on Jan. 31, expressed skepticism when asked by a House lawmaker about a reported pledge made by the CCP’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan assuring that China wouldn’t interfere in the 2024 elections.

“China has promised a lot of things over the years. So I guess I’ll believe it when I see it,” Mr. Wray said.

A declassified assessment published by the director of national intelligence in December last year found that Beijing attempted to meddle in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections to undermine certain candidates who espoused tough-on-China policy stances.

President Trump also commented on Taiwan when asked whether he would try to stop the Chinese regime from taking over the self-ruled island.

“I won’t tell you now because that would really jeopardize my negotiating ability with China,” the former president said.

A new national poll from McLaughlin & Associates showed President Trump leading President Joe Biden 47 percent to 43 percent in a hypothetical two-way race, while 10 percent of the respondents said they were undecided. The poll surveyed 1,000 likely general election voters from Jan. 25 to Jan. 31.

The same poll also found President Trump holding a commanding lead over former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 81 percent to 19 percent, in the Republican primary.

 

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