Trump: Sometimes ‘Trade Wars Are Good’

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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President Donald Trump responded Friday to strong criticisms that his pursuit of punitive trade measures will trigger a trade war with a tweet arguing that sometimes “trade wars are good.”

Following recent decisions to place tariffs on imported washing machines, solar panels, and aluminum foil, the president announced Thursday that the U.S. will put tariffs of 25 percent on foreign-made steel and 10 percent on aluminum. This move was set in motion by a Department of Commerce report released last month that recommended restricting imports of foreign steel and aluminum to protect national security.

In the wake of Trump’s announcement, many observers and analysts on both sides of the aisle expressed serious concern, noting that such an aggressive move could start a trade war with countries around the world. Trump responded Friday that trade conflicts are sometimes necessary to defend American interests.

China has been particularly outspoken in its complaints.

“All countries steel and aluminum industries are facing difficulties,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Friday. “China urges the United States to show restraint in using protective trade measures, respect multilateral trade rules, and make a positive contribution to international trade order.”

Notably, China has signaled an intent to retaliate. America’s “unreasonable and excessive use of trade remedy measures will not help revitalize relevant industries at home,” Hua said Thursday. “Rather, it will affect its employment and jeopardize the welfare of American consumers.” In the past, presidents have tried to use tariffs to protect American industries, and the results were less than desirable.

“China will take necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests,” the spokeswoman added.

While the Chinese government has been critical of Trump’s tariffs, China’s metal industries were reportedly unimpressed by the president’s “stupid trade protection measure,” largely dismissing the move which may hit other countries harder.

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