U.S. President Donald Trump was so angry after China hit U.S. imports with retaliatory tariffs that he wanted to double all tariffs on Chinese imports before settling on a smaller increase, according to a Wednesday report by CNBC.
China announced on Aug. 23, plans to slap tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports and halt the purchase of all American agricultural goods in direct response to Trump’s previously announced tariffs, some of which went into effect on Sept. 1, and more than will hit in mid-December.
According to three unnamed CNBC sources, Trump’s initial reaction, “communicated to aides on a White House trade call that day,” was to double all existing tariffs.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin then frantically called a number of U.S. CEOs to call Trump and convince him that such a move would send stock markets into the abyss and further slow an already weakening economy.
Trump then settled on a 5% tariff hike on about $550 billion worth of Chinese imports, which he announced after the markets closed on Aug. 23. Mnuchin and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham then said the president’s only regret was not raising them higher.
On Tuesday, Trump threatened that China, which is reportedly willing to wait Trump out and deal with the next administration, would face “MUCH TOUGHER” penalties if it doesn’t come to the table and make a deal before the 2020 election.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2019
Markets have whipsawed up and down on seemingly every word uttered — good or bad — about the ongoing trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
The two sides are set to meet again this month, though, a specific date has not yet been set.