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Trump reviews 'Made in America' products at the White House

China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-25 10:38

US President Donald Trump during a "Made in America Product Showcase" at the White House on July 23, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - Checking out a speedboat, a fighter jet and a giant industrial magnet parked on the White House driveway, US President Donald Trump showcased an array of "Made in America" products on Monday as his administration pushes back aggressively against critics who say his punishing tariffs on imported goods threaten to harm the US economy.

Trump's event with a smorgasbord of US goods came at the start of a week in which trade discussions are expected to dominate, including talks with European officials and a trip to the state of Illinois in which the president is planning to visit a community helped along by his steel tariffs.

Trump has vowed to force international trading partners to bend to his will as he seeks to renegotiate a series of trade deals he has long argued hurt US workers. But as he deepens US involvement in trade fights, it raises questions on whether consumers will feel the pain of retaliatory tariffs - and whether the president will incur a political price for his nationalistic trade policies in the 2018 midterm elections. "Our leaders in Washington did nothing, they did nothing. They let our factories leave, they let our people lose their jobs," Trump said at the White House. "That's not free trade, that's fool's trade, that's stupid trade and we don't do that kind of trade anymore."

Trump noted that he would be meeting on Wednesday with European officials, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The US and European allies have been at odds over the president's tariffs on steel imports and are meeting as the dispute threatens to spread to the lucrative automobile business.

"Maybe we can work something out," he said.


Trump has already put taxes on imported steel and aluminum, saying they pose a threat to US national security, an argument that enrages staunch US allies such as the European Union and Canada.

He's threatening to use the national security justification again to slap tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that last year totaled $335 billion.

And he's already imposed tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports in a separate dispute over Beijing's high-tech industrial policies. He has threatened to ratchet that up past $500 billion.

"He likes tariffs," said William Reinsch, a former US trade official under President Bill Clinton now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "His preferred remedy is always tariffs, whether it makes any sense or not.

"It's a policy of victimization: 'Other people have been taking advantage of the United States for years ... Now they have to pay,'" Reinsch said, echoing the president's argument.

Trade analysts say the United States has not pursued such aggressive trade policies in decades.

"I can't think of another time when you had as many battles and particularly as many battles with no resolution in sight," said Edward Alden, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Associated Press

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