Remarks by President Trump on trade war with China before Marine One departure

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Q    Mr. President, why the tariffs against China now?  And are you concerned about the nosedive the Dow took today as a result?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I’m not concerned about that at all.  I expected that a little bit because people don’t understand quite yet about what’s happened.

We’ve taxed China on 300 billion dollars’ worth of goods and products being sold into our country.  And China eats it because they have to pay it.  Because what they do is they devalue their currency and they push money out.

Our people haven’t paid, as you know.  We’re also charging them 25 percent on $250 billion.  So we’re taking in many billions of dollars.  There’s been absolutely no inflation.  And frankly, it hasn’t cost our consumer anything; it costs China.

Now, what has happened is a lot of companies are moving out of China so they can, you know, avoid.  And China has had a rough twenty- — this is their worst year in 27 years, according to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.  I don’t want that.

But when my people came home, they said we’re talking.  We have another meeting in early September.  I said, “That’s fine.”  But in the meantime, until such time as there’s a deal, we’ll be taxing them.

We’re just getting — and we’re getting very good numbers from the border.  The 21,000 soldiers supplied by Mexico.  And I want to thank Mexico.  They’re doing a great job.  The numbers are way down at the border.

Q    On North Korea, sir.  On North Korea, they apparently just launched their third missile in about a week.  Is Kim testing you?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think it’s very much under control.  Very much under control.

Q    President Trump, we’re talking about a full-blown trade war here.  What do you say to American —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, what would you say it is?

Q    No, I’m asking you —

THE PRESIDENT:  Let me ask you a question.

Q    What do you say to American business owners —

THE PRESIDENT:  Right.  Right.  Right.

Q    — and consumers who are going to pay the price for these tariffs, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  Sure.  Sure.  What would you say when China, for the last 20 years, has been taking hundreds of billions of dollars out of our country?  And we had a President that would never do anything — a number of Presidents that never would do anything about it.  What would you say?

For many years, China has been taking money out by the hundreds of billions of dollars a year.  We have rebuilt China.  So now it’s time that we change things around.  If they don’t want to trade with us anymore, that would be fine with me.  We’d save a lot of money.

Q    Mr. President, sir, do you believe that Xi is slow-walking this?  And is this 10 percent tariff a bit of a hurry-up call?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I don’t know.  I think President Xi, who’s somebody I like a lot, I think he wants to make a deal.  But frankly, he’s not going fast enough.  He said he was going to be buying from our farmers; he didn’t do that.  He said he was going to stop fentanyl from coming into our country — it’s all coming out of China; he didn’t do that.  We’re losing thousands of people to fentanyl.  And this was time.

And very importantly, for many years — you know this better than anybody; you’ve been covering it for a long time — for many years, China has been taking out hundreds of billions of dollars a year and rebuilding China.  It’s time that we rebuild our country.

And, you know, the one thing I have to say — and you have to say this: What China is doing is they’re devaluing their currency and they’re pumping money out like they’ve never done before.  And they’re paying for these tariffs; we’re not.

Q    Are you concerned by reports that the Chinese army may be preparing to intervene in Hong Kong against the demonstrators?  And what do you say to the accusation that the U.S. is somehow behind these protests?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, something is probably happening with Hong Kong because when you look at, you know, what’s going on, they’ve had riots for a long period of time.  And I don’t know what China’s attitude is.  Somebody said that at some point they’re going to want to stop that.  But that’s between Hong Kong and that’s between China, because Hong Kong is a part of China.  They’ll have to deal with that themselves.  They don’t need advice.

Q    You put a date — you put a date of September 1 on these tariffs.  Are you giving Xi a chance to negotiate himself out of this?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  No, no, no.  It’s September 1.  The reason is, it takes a long time for the ships to come over.  And it’s a period of time.  So I’m giving him four — like a four-week period of time before the tariffs go on.

But we’re now taking in tariffs on 10 percent on over $300 billion, and 25 percent on $250 billion.  And it’s been proven that our people are not paying for those tariffs.

Q    On Huawei, what will you do on Huawei to give relief to the companies —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’ve not changed on Huawei.  We’re not allowing Huawei into our country.  We’re not changed on that.  We can do business for non-security things with Huawei because that’s — you know, we’ll do that.  But anything having to do with national security, we’re not dealing with Huawei.

Q    But why didn’t you do more?

THE PRESIDENT:  Look, I did more than anybody thought with the first $250 billion.  And the 10 percent is for a short-term period, and then I can always do much more or I can do less, depending on what happens with respect to a deal.

But I’m very happy the way it is right now.  My people came back.  They’re going to meet again in September.  I said, “Look, if you meet, that’s great.”  But in the meantime, we’re going to pay — they’re going to pay a tariff and it’ll be a very substantial tariff.

Now, if you remember, when I did the 25 percent, I did it in stages.  And this can also be lifted, ultimately, in stages, or it can be taken off.  But it can be lifted in stages.  So we’re starting at 10 percent, and it can be lifted up to well beyond 25 percent.  But we’re not looking to do that necessarily.

But this would be done in stages.  So I put on 10 percent on 300 — it’s approximately $300 billion.  We already have a 25 percent tariff on the first $250 billion.  So, the 10 percent follows the $250 billion at 25 percent.

Source: the White House
Washington D.C.

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