Trump Goes Full Protectionist on China While Claiming To Be a “Free-Trader”
By Hunter Wallace
Yesterday, Trump told The New York Times editorial board that he supports a 45 percent uniform tariff on Chinese exports:
“Donald J. Trump said he would favor a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the United States, proposing the idea during a wide-ranging meeting with members of the editorial board of The New York Times. …
The only power that we have with China,” Mr. Trump said, “is massive trade.”
“I would tax China on products coming in,” Mr. Trump said. “I would do a tariff, yes — and they do it to us.”
Mr. Trump added that he’s “a free trader,” but that “it’s got to be reasonably fair.”
Unfortunately, I was too busy yesterday to share this important story, but this is a YUGE development. It WAS NOT in his actual policy statement on trade which China which I reviewed here in November. Of course a 45 percent uniform tariff on Chinese exports would have to get through 1.) the WTO in which China is a member and 2.) the Paul Ryan-Mitch McConnell-controlled US Congress, but still Trump is now openly calling for a revolutionary change to American trade policy.
Oh yeah, one more thing that is really important: it came out yesterday that China is considering another 15 percent devaluation of its currency:
“China’s central bank is under increasing pressure from policy advisers to let the yuan currency fall quickly and sharply, by as much as 10-15 percent, as its recent gradual softening is thought to be doing more harm than good. …
While a weaker yuan would make Chinese exports cheaper overseas, and foreign products more expensive in China, it would be unlikely to go down well among the country’s trading partners. The United States, for one, regularly accuses Beijing of manipulating its exchange rate to dump under-priced goods on foreign markets.”
Trump was calling out China for devaluing its currency twice back in August:
“The outspoken billionaire criticized Beijing, during a campaign stop in Birch Run, Mich., for devaluing the yuan.
“They’re just destroying us,” Trump said, according to Reuters.
“They keep devaluing their currency until they get it right,” he said. “They’re doing a big cut to the yuan, and that’s going to be devastating for us.
“China has gotten rich off us,” Trump added, the news service reported. “China has rebuilt itself with the money it’s sucked out of the United States and the jobs that it’s sucked out of the United States.”
China on Wednesday devalued its currency for a second straight day, with officials cutting the rate for the yuan by 1.6 percent. …”
Please note that the big devalution of China’s currency last August was 2.7 percent … and now they are pondering a 15 percent devaluation in the heat of the US primary season. The Chinese central bank let the yuan fall yesterday and this could continue to roil the economy through the 2016 presidential election.
China is giving Trump all the ammunition he needs to destroy the free-traders in the Republican primary and Hillary in the general election. It was Bill Clinton who brought China into the WTO.