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Trump says China is paying for trade war as another round of tariffs takes effect

Evie Fordham

President Donald Trump said China, not U.S. companies or consumers, is paying for the trade war on Sunday hours after another round of tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods set in.

“It was brought out very strongly today by a number of great economists that, because China has devalued their currency so much, that in fact they are actually paying for all of the tariffs we have. In addition to that, as you know, they're pouring money into their economy," Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

It's an argument Trump has used before.

"So far our consumer is paying nothing - and no inflation," he tweeted in August.

The president also said a September meeting to discuss trade with the Chinese was still happening even though both countries just imposed even more tariffs on each others' goods.

"We are talking to China, the meeting is still on, as you know, in September. That hasn't changed. ...  We can't allow China to rip us off more as a country," Trump said on Sunday.

He downplayed the plight of farmers, many of whom say the trade war is cutting into their profitability in an already-tough industry.

"We’re taking in tens of billions of dollars, we're giving some of the money to the farmers. I'm making the farmers more than whole. The farmers are doing better than if China, frankly, were buying," Trump said.

Political and financial experts weighed in on the latest moves in Trump's trade war.

"I disagree with the president when he said trade wars are easy to win. I don’t know what history books he’s referring to, but that’s never the case," former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told Fox Business Network's Gerry Baker in an interview that aired Sunday.

"There are severe consequences in a trade war for everyone," Hagel continued. "If we start to approach this on who’s winning, the U.S. or China, that's the wrong, that's a dangerous approach. Because it continues to divide you in a very dangerous way where, no matter what, I’m going to win, and they’re going to lose. Zero sum game. That’s not the way it works. Not a global, liberal, free trade economy."

Financial expert Priya Misra of TD Securities said she wasn't seeing a positive outcome from the stretched-out tariff battle on "Bloomberg Real Yield" on Sunday.

"Last Friday, the tone [between the U.S. and China] went very negative, very dark. The fact that we didn’t have a further darkening of that tone mattered for the broader macro market. But if you look at the structural issues between the U.S. and China, we’ve had the same issues for the last two years —which is IP [intellectual property], which is cyber. I’m not seeing any progress there. Politically, neither side has any incentive to agree to a weak deal, so how do they sell this to their own population? I would argue that there is no deal," Misra said.

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