Critics have accused Donald Trump of rushing headlong into a trade war against China with little regard for the effects on the economy and no plan for how to “win” the war.
Now, Trump appears to have admitted that at least part of that is true.
In remarks to reporters during his trip to France for a G-7 Summit, Trump appeared to admit that there is no gameplan guiding his approach to the tariffs placed on China. As Vox reported, Trump said that he does not know what to do next regarding China and hinted that there would need to be more negotiations.
“I have no plan right now. Actually, we’re getting along very well with China right now,” Trump said. “I think they want to make a deal much more than I do. We’re getting a lot of money in tariffs. It’s coming in by the billions. We never got 10 cents from China. So we’ll see what happens. But we are talking to China very seriously.”
As many economists and journalists have pointed out, Donald Trump appears to either not understand tariffs or is purposely trying to misinterpret the way they work. Despite Trump’s statement, China is not paying the tariffs, and the United States is not making any money directly from China. As FactCheck.org noted, import duties are paid by U.S. importers, whether directly or through customs brokers.
Trump’s repeated statements that China is paying for the tariffs have angered some American companies who have been hit hard by the tariffs, CNBC reported.
“China obviously is not paying for it,” said Zachary Maltzman, CFO of Eastman Music Co., a musical instrument manufacturer and wholesaler that has been hit hard by Trump’s trade war with China.
Donald Trump’s admission on Sunday that he has “no plan” regarding the trade war with China came just hours after the president made another apparent admission of regret in the trade war. When asked if he had second thoughts about pushing forward in the trade war despite the impact it has had on many American companies, including the farming industry, Trump answered that he did.
The art of the flail: it seems as if Trump got spooked by market reaction to his tariffs, started to back down, then got furious over reports that he was backing down and reversed course again 1/ https://t.co/0HGdrdVUDs
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) August 25, 2019
The White House then released a statement calling Trump’s remark “misinterpreted” and claimed that Trump meant to say that he only regretted not raising tariffs higher. Trump made no mention in his remarks of regretting not putting more tariffs in place and gave no indication that this was his intention in his reply, however.