President Donald Trump was allegedly outraged by China’s retaliatory measures last month that he wanted to double tariffs on imports from the country, before deciding on a lower increase, said three sources with knowledge of the matter.
Trump, they said, was angered by China’s August 23 plans to impose tariffs on $75 billion in American products, which came after the U.S. slapped levies on Chinese product, effective from September 1. The sources said that the President’s initial reaction was to hit China with double tariffs.
But Trump eventually changed his mind after several CEOs were enlisted by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to warn the President of the negative effects such move would have on the stock market and the economy.
CNBC reports that President Trump finally settled on a 5% rise in levies on around $550 billion in Chinese imports. Shortly after the announcement of the tariff hike, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham noted the President’s only regret was not raising tariffs higher.
The news of Trump’s consideration comes amid an escalation in the U.S.-China trade war that has led to major U.S. stock indexes plummeting.
On Tuesday, Trump further indicated that should he win reelection next year and no trade deal is reached with China by then, he would take even more extreme measures to crack down on the country’s trade practices while suggesting at the same time that talks were progressing well.
“We are doing very well in our negotiations with China. While I am sure they would love to be dealing with a new administration so they could continue their practice of “ripoff USA”($600 B/year), 16 months PLUS is a long time to be hemorrhaging jobs and companies on a long-shot….” he tweeted. “….And then, think what happens to China when I win. Deal would get MUCH TOUGHER! In the meantime, China’s Supply Chain will crumble and businesses, jobs and money will be gone!”