Trump and the White House have said they're going to introduce tariffs or some form of sanction against China's theft of intellectual property, but if this report from Reuters is correct it looks like they're considering something far more sweeping and dangerous.
Reuters reports that Trump is considering tariffs on up to 100 different products imported from China and the words "intellectual property" are hardly mentioned at all.
Sources familiar with the situation say the new tariffs could target consumer products from electronics to toys and various industries are understandably worried about it.
Higher tariffs on these products would “hurt American families,” said Hun Quach, a trade lobbyist for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
“We’re not talking about fancy cashmere sweaters, we’re talking about cotton T-Shirts and jeans and shoes that kids wear for back-to-school,” she added. “Alarm bells are ringing.”
China runs a $375 billion trade surplus with the United States and when President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser visited Washington recently, the administration pressed him to come up with a way of reducing that number.
This is a clear demonstration that Trump still doesn't know what a trade deficit is or why we have one.
China cannot reduce our trade deficit because it's not China that drives it, it's American consumers. American consumers shopping at Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon drive our trade deficit. Americans buying iPhones and cars with sophisticated navigation and stereo systems drive our trade deficit.
Taking things a step further, it's American companies that drive our trade deficit, not Chinese companies. American-owned companies, or local companies contracted by American companies, manufacture goods in China that are imported to sell to American consumers.
Furthermore, foreign consumers being uninterested in or unable to afford American-made products also drives our trade deficits. And starting a trade war isn't going to solve that problem. A trade war initiated by Trump for no substantive reason will only make American products even less marketable.
Trump doesn't understand anything I just said and neither do some of his closest advisers, but here's another alarming thought: his closest advisers may not be batshit enough for him.
The news website Politico earlier reported that the U.S. Trade Representative’s office had presented Trump with a package of $30 billion in tariffs last week, but Trump told aides that this was not high enough.
One Washington business source who had discussed the issue with the White House said the figure had now grown to about $60 billion, with a potentially wider array of products under consideration.
The White House announced this morning that CNBC pundit Larry Kudlow would succeed Gary Cohn as Trump's top economic adviser.
Kudlow opposes tariffs but that may not matter. It may not matter because Kudlow has decided to become a yes-man.
BREAKING: Kudlow tells AP he's accepted White House economics job, opposes tariffs but is `in accord' with Trump's policies.
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 14, 2018
There have been reports lately that Trump "wants to become Trump" again and that's why he's replacing most if not all of his cabinet.
What his really means is more reckless policy shit-flinging.