President Donald Trump took credit for China’s economic slowdown after Beijing acknowledged that retail sales and industrial production were down for the month.
His tariffs are putting a squeeze on China, the president asserted, and Beijing is eager to make a deal.
‘China just announced that their economy is growing much slower than anticipated because of our Trade War with them. They have just suspended U.S. Tariff Hikes. U.S. is doing very well. China wants to make a big and very comprehensive deal. It could happen, and rather soon!’ Trump tweeted, admitting that he is in a trade war with the nation.
His aides have repeatedly claimed that it’s a ‘trade dispute’ and not a ‘trade war’ that is on pause as the rival governments strive for a deal.
Beijing is struggling under the weight of his tariffs, Trump said, which have brought in billions in the four months since he imposed them.
‘China’s economy if it’s in trouble, it’s only in trouble because of me,’ he contended in a Thursday interview.
Trump said the spat is not hurting the United States, using low inflation as a marker, even as he acknowledged that the Dow had totally lost the gains he took credit for in 2017.
‘Now let’s take a little bit off the table and fix it because we cannot continue to lose USD 500 billion a year to China,’ he said.
China the third largest export market for the U.S., so a slow-down there could take a toll on U.S. businesses and export-related jobs, or contribute to a global financial cooling which could harm the nation’s economic expansion.
The Dow, for instance, was set to close roughly 500 points, or two percent down, at the end of another raucous week.
Still, the president said that short-term losses were worth the long-term gains.
It took Trump two tries to get his message out as he wanted to, however. The president’s initial tweet said China ‘just announce the there economy,’ an incorrect use of the word ‘there,’ along with another error.
Ten minutes later, he deleted it and sent out another tweet that ‘China just announced that their economy’ is growing. However, he still capitalized ‘Trade War’ and ‘Tariff Hikes’ for unknown reasons.
As Dow had appeared to stabilize, Trump said his trade war with China is ‘not even affecting’ the United States as he implored the Federal Reserve to stop rising rates. ‘President Obama, he had zero interest rates. Anybody can make money with zero interest rates,’ he asserted.
‘Our economy is soaring. Our jobs are soaring, our businesses are doing tremendously. Apple just announced they’re going to be investing billions of dollars in this country. That just happened,’ Trump told Fox News host Harris Faulkner.
The president maintained that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a ‘fantastic dinner’ and said that he has great respect for the authoritarian leader who is ‘not a capitulator.’
‘Very productive conversations going on with China! Watch for some important announcements!’ he tweeted earlier in the week
But Trump also declared himself this month to be a ‘tariffs man’ and said he’d be just fine doubling or even quadrupling $200 billion in penalties on imports from China at the end of a three-month window for talks.
He later insisted that he was sincere in his interest in striking a trade accord with Beijing, just as he believes that Xi genuinely wants to broker one.
Senior White House officials meanwhile shared differing messages on the cable news networks about what Trump would do at the end of the three-month period if he and Xi had not reached a deal.
Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said the president could grant China an extension if talks were headed in the right direction.
White House Trade Council head Peter Navarro said the same day that Trump would immediately resume a hefty tariffs schedule, if China balks at an agreement that protects American interests.
Conflicting claims among Trump’s chief economic advisers have sent shivers through the business world.
The arrest of the heiress to a top Chinese telecommunications firm last week further intensified concerns that the ceasefire would be short-lived.
A weaker than expected November jobs report was also a factor in the market’s performance. Analysts had hoped for 200,000 or more new jobs heading into the holiday season, but the Labor Department put the monthly number at 155,000.
The news wasn’t entirely bad for Trump, as the Chinese confirmed a trade agreement was in the works.
‘The teams of both sides are now having smooth communications and good cooperation with each other. We are full of confidence that an agreement can be reached within the next 90 days,’ they said.
Authorities arrested Huawei heiress Meng Wanzhou at the Vancouver airport on Dec. 1 on undisclosed charges that are said to relate to a violation of United States sanctions against Iran.
Chinese state media characterized the arrest as profit-motivated, and indemnified the move as a ‘despicable’ abuse of international law.
‘Obviously, Washington is resorting to a despicable rogue’s approach as it cannot stop Huawei’s 5G advance in the market, an editorial in the sate-run Global Times said.
The arrest was linked to the negotiations with China to reform intellectual property rules and open up the technology sector in China to American-made goods, however the White House claims they are unrelated.
‘The two issues are totally separate,’ Navarro, the chairman of the president’s trade council, told CNN.
National Security Advisor John Bolton admitted that alleged intellectual property theft is one of the United States’ chief complaints about China.
‘You should not turn a blind eye when states, as a matter of national policy, are stealing intellectual property from their competitors,’ Bolton said.
He admitted during the interview with NPR, ‘Huawei is one company we’ve been concerned about. There are others, as well.’
Trump said last week that he and Xi would ‘probably’ have a deal at the end of a 90-day timetable for talks that began at the G20 as he unexpectedly declared himself against free trade.
‘Unless extended, they will end 90 days from the date of our wonderful and very warm dinner with President Xi in Argentina,’ Trump asserted. ‘China is supposed to start buying Agricultural product and more immediately. President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will.’
He then proclaimed himself to be a ‘tariffs man’ in direct contradiction to his own White House’s assertions that Trump is a free-trader.
‘We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN,’ Trump said in messages. ‘Let the negotiations begin. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’
Trump’s tweets sent the market plunging. The Dow fell throughout the morning and was down by more than 700 points by early afternoon stocks recovered but dived again on Friday, closing 558.72 points down.― Daily Mail Online