President trump has indicated on Twitter that he asked China to formulate a plan that will reduce the U.S.’ trade deficit with the nation by $1 billion. The U.S. currently runs a trade deficit with China of nearly $400 billion a year.
“China has been asked to develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States. Our relationship with China has been a very good one, and we look forward to seeing what ideas they come back with. We must act soon!” the President wrote on Twitter this morning.
Trade has dominated the headlines for this White House since the President unexpectedly announced 25% and 10% on steel and aluminum imports respectively, last week. The announcement drew both criticism and praise from foreign governments, corporations and lawmakers. It is also believed to be one of the main reasons White House Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn resigned this week.
Cohn, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis, strongly opposed such a policy while, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and others like U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer fought hard for them.
In the end, the protectionist views won, and the President announced the sanctions.
Trump campaigned on stronger trade policies that will bring the U.S.’ massive trade deficit more in balance. Earlier this year he announced tariffs on imported washing machines as well as solar panels. Those tariffs, however, expire – the washing machine tariff after three years, the solar tariff after four. No expiration date for the steel and aluminum tariffs have been announced as of yet.