‘Trump won’t back down’ in China trade war, Steve Bannon says
President Trump plans to make the trade war with China “unprecedentedly large” and “unbearably painful” for Beijing, according to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
In an interview published in Thursday’s edition of Hong Kong’s English language newspaper, The South China Morning, Mr. Banon explained the historically harsh sanction Mr. Trump has levied on China were not just to force Beijing to abandon its “unfair trade practices” but ultimately to “re-industrialize America.”
Mr. Bannon, who also takes credit for helping formulate the current trade war strategy, added that Mr. Trump “will not back down” before the U.S. achieves victory.
While past tariffs were limited to roughly $10 billion and $30 billion, he said, the White House plan to impose import duties of up to $500 billion “caught Beijing off guard.”
“It’s not just any tariff,” Mr. Bannon said. “It’s tariffs on a scale and depth that is previously inconceivable in U.S. history.”
Beijing’s efforts to delay implementation by engaging in “round after round of talks” would fail, he predicted.
“They [Beijing] always want to have a strategic dialogue to tap things along,” Mr. Bannon told The Post. “They never envisioned that somebody would actually do this.”
He speculated that Chinese elites would not support a long-term trade war and were already moving money out of China and into San Francisco, Los Angeles and midtown Manhattan real estate.
Mr. Bannon also applauded Washington’s ability to “cut off” Chinese access to American technology, as occurred earlier this year with Chinese telecom giant ZTE. The move threatened to bankrupt ZTE before Washington lifted the ban.
The China-U.S. trade war could end as soon as Beijing stops “appropriating our technology” he said.
Mr. Bannon, 64, previously served as chairman of Breitbart News before joining Mr. Trump’s campaign in 2016.
He and Mr. Trump have a complex relationship and parted ways last year after the president criticized him for his role in a tell-all book about the White House.
According to media reports, they have since mended fences with Mr. Bannon saying that they “see eye to eye” on trade.