Trump to Xi: U.S. trade deficit with China ‘not sustainable’

by WorldTribune Staff, January 17, 2018

The Commerce Department reported in November that the U.S. trade deficit with China has ballooned to $33.5 billion.

In a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Jan. 15, U.S. President Donald Trump said the deficit “is not sustainable.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump at a G20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany on July 7, 2017. / Kyodo

“President Trump expressed disappointment that the United States’ trade deficit with China has continued to grow,” the White House said in a statement on Jan. 16. “President Trump made clear that the situation is not sustainable.”

After receiving the Commerce Department’s report, Trump is also said to be considering tariffs on steel, which China is known to over-produce.

Under a 1962 trade law, Trump can decide whether to apply higher tariffs and quotas on imported steel for national security reasons.

Trump has indicated in the past that he could hold off on applying pressure on China on trade as long as Beijing enforces sanctions against North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

“China’s been helping us a lot, so you can veer a little bit differently,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal in an interview last week.

Trump told The New York Times last month that “China’s hurting us very badly on trade, but I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war, OK?”

“If they’re helping me with North Korea, I can look at trade a little bit differently, at least for a period of time.”


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