U.S. President Donald Trump predicted Tuesday the United States and China will have a “fantastic trading relationship” but one that will be different from the way it has been under previous presidents.
Speaking to a group of invited business leaders, Trump said he wants China to do well, but also wants Chinese policies to treat the United States fairly.
Trump has frequently highlighted China as a target of what he says are unbalanced trade relationships he wants to alter in order to benefit American workers. He has implemented more than $30 billion in new tariffs on Chinese goods, and on Tuesday his administration said another $16 billion in tariffs would go into effect later this month.
China has said it plans to counter with tens of billions of dollars in tariffs on U.S. exports. It also released its latest trade figures Tuesday showing a surge in exports in July despite the U.S. actions.
Paul Hanke, a professor of applied economics at the Johns Hopkins University and a former Reagan Administration trade official, told VOA the U.S. trade deficit with China is “really not a problem.”
He compared the situation to the trade deficit the United States had with Japan in the 1980s that prompted President Ronald Reagan to institute the type of protectionist policies Trump is now supporting. But Hanke said he expects China to have a stronger response than the Japanese did.
“China is a big power and they’re going to play hard ball with the United States, so this will get worse, not better,” he said.
Trump said Tuesday his administration has already used tax cuts, deregulation and trade policies to boost the U.S. economy, which grew by 4.1 percent in the second quarter of this year.
The president falsely asserted that level of growth was a record, or close to a record. Since 2011, the U.S. economy has posted three separate quarters above 4.7 percent growth.
Trump predicted his policies would push growth even higher, surpassing percent in the next quarter “as trade deals come in” that are “sane and fair for our country.”
He also said that next week the White House would make an announcement regarding his goal of making prescription drugs more affordable.
Trump gave no details other than to say the coming action would “get them down really, really substantially.”
During Tuesday’s event he highlighted his objection last month to planned price increases by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which quickly rolled back it prices to prior levels. Pfizer said it would keep the old prices until Trump can put in place a plan to strengthen the healthcare system, or the at the end of the year, whichever comes first.
Victor Beattie contributed to this report.