On Thursday, President Donald Trump authorized a policy making memorandum which imposes upwards of $60 billion in tariffs on imports from China.
Whilst signing the executive order, the president stated, “This is the first of many [trade actions].”
The current administration has consistently been quick to emphasize the $375 billion surplus China has over the U.S.
“I will say the people we’re negotiating with, smilingly, they really agree with us. I really believe they cannot believe they’ve gotten away with this for so long,” said President Trump.
He added, “I’ll talk to Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe of Japan and others, great guy, friend of mine, and there will be a little smile on their face and the smile is: ‘I can’t believe we’ve been able to take advantage of the United States for so long.’ So those days are over.”
Officials from the White House administration also stressed that a soon-to-be-released statement from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office will highlight 1,300 product lines the new tariffs will specifically apply toward. Said tariffs are to be enacted under Section 301 of the 1974 U.S. Trade Act.
Hua Chunying, a Chinese spokeswoman from the foreign ministry, rapidly responded: blaming America’s export restrictions, claiming that such tariffs are “unfair,” and that China should not be punished for not purchasing what the U.S. has to sell.
Chunying argued, “How many soybeans should China buy that are equal to one Boeing aircraft? Or, if China buys a certain number of Boeing aircraft should the U.S. buy an equal number of C919s?”
In 2017 alone, American soybeans amounted to over 63% of China’s agricultural imports from the U.S. at $12.4 billion.
China’s Global Times labeled America’s expectations as “arrogant and naïve” for assuming that U.S. soybean exports will hold as collateral in trade negotiations.
The coming weeks shall reveal just how strategic each nation’s trade initiatives may be.
Caleb Fernandez, writer at The Daily Lev.