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White House says new tariffs on China are ‘defensive’ to protect U.S. businesses and workers

June 19, 2018

President Trump’s move to impose more tariffs on Chinese products is a “purely defensive” action to prevent China’s deliberate takeover of U.S. technology and intellectual property, the White House said Tuesday.

White House economic adviser Peter Navarro said Mr. Trump’s announcement of a new round of potential tariffs came after lengthy trade talks with Beijing showed no progress in reducing the U.S. trade deficit of $376 billion with China.

“None of these efforts by the president and his team have resulted in any progress on the two core issues facing the U.S.-China relationship,” Mr. Navarro told reporters, citing the trade imbalance and China’s campaign to acquire U.S. technology “by any means necessary.”

“The actions President Trump has taken are purely defensive in nature,” he said.

Mr. Trump announced Monday night that he has ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to draw up a list of $200 billion in Chinese goods that would face a 10 percent tariff, if Beijing proceeds with its own retaliatory tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Stock markets plunged Tuesday after the announcement, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 1 percent, or more than 300 points.

Mr. Navarro said the president’s action will be “ultimately bullish” for corporate America and U.S. workers.

“I understand that there’s going to be concern about what the impact might be, both on the financial markets and on the global economy,” he said. “This trade dispute will lead to relatively small effects in two economies that collectively add up to about $30 trillion in annual GDP. Our view is that these actions are necessary to defend this country. This is a trade dispute nothing more, nothing less.”

Mr. Navarro said China is seeking by 2025 to control 70 percent of U.S. industries such as aerospace, agricultural machinery, artificial intelligence, biotech, business application software, electronics, new generation IT, precision farming, robotics, and satellite communications.

“China cannot have 70 percent of production of these industries by 2025,” he said.

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