Trump Flips Out, Orders USTR To Consider Another $100 Billion In Tariffs On China

Trump Flips Out, Orders USTR To Consider Another $100 Billion In Tariffs On China

Trump’s not done.

Perhaps emboldened by three straight days of equity gains stateside despite the escalating trade rhetoric, the President has now instructed Lighthizer to look into additional tariffs on China. Apparently, this is some kind of follow up to the 301 probe.

“In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs,” Trump said Thursday evening in a statement.


He’s also telling the Agriculture Secretary “to use his broad authority to implement a plan to protect [America’s] farmers and agricultural interests.” Maybe the furious soybean growers got to him.


“Any additional tariffs proposed will be subject to a similar public comment process as the proposed tariffs announced on April 3, 2018,” Lighthizer said in a statement of his own, adding that “no tariffs will go into effect until the respective process is complete.”

It’s not entirely clear what Trump means by “China’s unfair retaliation” considering that just yesterday, Wilbur Ross spent all morning explaining how Beijing’s retaliatory measures were “proportionate” and “expected” and how no one should be “surprised.”

One person who is apparently “surprised” is Trump – or maybe his pride is just hurt by all of the gloating from the Chinese propaganda machine, but whatever the case, he’s taking shit up another notch and it had an immediate impact on markets. We’ll see how it plays out overnight.

Sorry Larry Kudlow, looks like you’re finding out what Gary Cohn found out: you cannot reason with Trump and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Bottom line:


16 thoughts on “Trump Flips Out, Orders USTR To Consider Another $100 Billion In Tariffs On China

  1. And your alternative plan is what – same old sh_t, different day.

    This is a problem that needs to be fixed, but it will not happen overnight since it took so long to get into this mess. Maybe tariffs are not the right answer, but they seem to be the only choice for the executive office since Congress is bought and paid for by international interest groups on both sides of the aisle.. A reformed international trade settlement process is probably the right approach. But I don’t hear any of these proposals from Wall Street or Congress – only belly aching and posturing; because they all know fixing this 30 year in the making problem means inflated stock prices must come back to earth, interest rates must rise, and inflation will probably spark out of control – just like 1971, when the seeds for this currently insane upside down world in which the US is somehow indebted to one of the poorer countries in the world, instead of visa verse.

    If I didn’t know better, I would figure that your biggest source of revenue comes from Xi himself.

    1. “visa verse”

      Is that when a credit card raps for you? a “Visa verse?”

      I think you mean: “vice versa”

      Jesus Christ, Daniel. It’s no wonder you’re on the same page with Trump. Neither one of you are literate.

    2. Oh, please.

      First, the idea that this administration tried and failed to muster Congressional support for its agenda is laughable. This administration lacks the political skills to try, and so predictably has failed. Of course, if you wish to blame a conspiracy of “international interest groups” for your failure, I suppose that would be typical of budding authoritarianisms everywhere.

      Second, it’s hard to claim a potential resolution lies in reforming international law while simultaneously voicing support for a government that wilfully decided to aggressively violate said international law to impose its tariffs. Why does the U.S. not make use of the international dispute resolution mechanisms it spent so many years constructing?

      Third, barring that, I imagine a less disruptive and, in the long run, more effective method of challenging China would be to isolate it from the international economy. One way to do this would be to — again — remain inside the boundaries of international law by negotiating a new agreement to isolate China. The Obama administration went this route; but Trump threw the TPP out.

      Fourth, barring actually following the law, again, a less disruptive and more effective method probably would have been a broader multilateral effort to punish China. This would have been doable given that American companies and workers are not the only ones suffering the effects of Chinese mercantilism, but instead, the Trump administration wanted trade fights throughout Western civilization at the same time as it challenged China. Maybe all those fights are worth fighting too, but one would think it would be worth prioritizing one over the other, even if it was the other way around.

  2. This is trump’s M.O.

    He always begins with an outlandish position. He had been talked down to 50 billion by advisers months ago, but Kudlow reminded everyone what a baby step this was. China just shrugged a “so what, we will simply match that”. So now he seized upon the chance to set the bar really high. I’m sure that he hopes that the Chicoms get emotional this time. Bullys want to get under the skin of their intended victims.

    After the midterm campaigns and elections, he will quietly compromise (maybe fully retreat), and still claim victory. He’s already claimed victory for Obama’s 8 year economic recovery and tripling stock market.

  3. Trump ( I capitalized trump’s name, because it is the start of a sentence) needs a new enemy, now that Hilary is just old news. No matter what Mueller determines, how can the Congress impeach a president who is fighting the Chinese commies, for the good of main street and U.S. workers?

  4. What happened to the concept of negotiating first, and only when that fails, to threaten “punishment”. I’d also like to see the size of China’s service trade deficit with the USA, which nobody has actually mentioned.

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