Donald Trump escalated economic global tensions on Friday, lashing out a range of targets that included the European Union, the Federal Reserve and China, indicating that he is prepared to raise tariffs on Chinese imports from $34bn to cover the entire $505bn of Chinese imports.
“I’m willing to go to 500,” he said during a taped interview with the business channel CNBC, an escalation he was prepared to make because it “was the right thing to do for our country” and because the rise in stocks – the S&P 500 is up 31% since his election – allowed him to pursue a more aggressive trade policy.
Trump also turned to Twitter to predict that US soybean farmers will emerge victorious from the US-China trade dispute.
“Farmers have been on a downward trend for 15 years. The price of soybeans has fallen 50% since 5 years before the Election. A big reason is bad (terrible) Trade Deals with other countries. They put on massive Tariffs and Barriers. Canada charges 275% on Dairy. Farmers will WIN!”
Trump’s comments caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to register a slight dip before the opening stock market bell in New York, though it then shook off the president’s threat and rose again on strong US corporate earnings growth.
The US president did not limit himself to commenting on tariffs and trade, and he accused China and the EU of currency manipulation.