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Trump Threatens to Dramatically Expand Trade War With China

Chris Morris

President Donald Trump says he is “ready” to place tariffs on every Chinese good imported to the U.S. as the trade war between the two countries escalates.

Speaking with CNBC Friday morning, Trump said “I’m ready to go to 500,” referring to the $505.5 billion in Chinese imports the U.S. took in last year. Currently, the Trump administration has only put tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products.

“I’m not doing this for politics, I’m doing this to do the right thing for our country,” Trump said. “We have been ripped off by China for a long time. … I don’t want them to be scared. I want them to do well. I really like President Xi a lot, but it was very unfair.”

China imports just under $130 billion in U.S. products each year, according to the Census Bureau, which would seemingly put that country at a disadvantage in the dispute.

The escalation in the trade dispute has been rapid so far. Less than a week after levying the tariffs, Trump began thinking about expanding them, considering adding tariffs of 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports. Today was the first time, though, he has talked about a full-scale trade war.

The first round of tariffs largely applied to raw materials imported by American companies. Only about 1% of the items on the list were consumer goods. The items under consideration that were announced on July 11 would have a more direct impact on consumers, though. Among the items targeted would be fish, luggage, tires, dog leashes, baseball gloves, furniture, clothing, mattresses, and some electronics.