President Trump dismisses trade tensions as 'a little squabble with China'

WASHINGTON — The ramped-up trade tensions between the U.S. and China have roiled markets in recent days, but President Trump dismissed concerns and predicted victory on Tuesday when he spoke to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before embarking on a trip to Louisiana. Trump began by declaring “we’re having probably the greatest economy that we’ve had anywhere, any time in the history of our country.”

“We’re having a little squabble with China because we’ve been treated very unfairly for many, many decades. … It should have been handled a long time ago, and it wasn’t, and we’ll handle it now,” Trump said. “I think it’s going to turn out extremely well. We’re in a very strong position.”

Trump’s comments came in the wake of China announcing it would increase tariffs on American products on Monday in retaliation for a similar move from the Trump administration earlier this month. The tariff hikes from the U.S. were part of an effort to increase pressure on Beijing as Trump seeks a new trade agreement with China.

20 PHOTOS
President Trump, Melania Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping
See Gallery
President Trump, Melania Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Xi Jinping, China's president, greet attendees waving American and Chinese national flags during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. The White House expects to announce upwards of $250 billion in business deals in China this week, an administration official said -- exactly the sort of U.S. jobs-based diplomacy that Trump�likes to deliver when traveling abroad. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China� President Xi Jinping and China� First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping leave after an opera performance at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania enjoy an opera performance with China's President Xi Jinping at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping and China's First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump looks at first lady Melania Trump next to Chinese President Xi Jinping as they tour the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China?s President Xi Jinping and China?s First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping tour the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China November 8, 2017. Looking on is Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan at left and U.S. first lady Melania Trump at right. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping and China's First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania and China's President Xi Jinping pose with opera performers at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping and China's First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump tours the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City in Beijing on November 8, 2017. US President Donald Trump toured the Forbidden City with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on November 8 as he began the crucial leg of an Asian tour intended to build a global front against North Korea's nuclear threats. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Andy Wong (Photo credit should read ANDY WONG/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One in Beijing on November 8, 2017. US President Donald Trump arrived in Beijing on November 8 for the critical leg of his Asia tour to drum up an uncompromising, global front against the nuclear weapons ambitions of the 'cruel dictatorship' in North Korea. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / THOMAS PETER (Photo credit should read THOMAS PETER/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony at the Great hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Xi Jinping, China's president, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump look on during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. The White House expects to announce upwards of $250 billion in business deals in China this week, an administration official said -- exactly the sort of U.S. jobs-based diplomacy that Trump�likes to deliver when traveling abroad. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Xi Jinping, China's president, left, gestures while standing next to U.S. President Donald Trump, during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. The White House expects to announce upwards of $250 billion in business deals in China this week, an administration official said -- exactly the sort of U.S. jobs-based diplomacy that Trump�likes to deliver when traveling abroad. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 09: The convoy of US President Donald Trump makes its way through Tiananmen Square before the welcome ceremony on November 9, 2017 in Beijing, China. At the invitation of Chineses President Xi Jinping, U.S President Donald Trump is to pay a state visit to China from November 8 to 10. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

China’s retaliatory moves are expected to hurt U.S. farm exports in particular, as Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., admitted Monday. The administration has proposed $27 billion in farm support payments over the last two years to offset the impact of China’s response.

The president’s efforts to craft a deal with China, which began almost as soon as he took office in 2017, stem from his deeply held belief the trade deficit between the two countries needs to be cut, a goal many economists view as pointless. The U.S. is also seeking to crack down on intellectual property theft by Chinese companies and rules that prevent American countries from fully competing and controlling their operations in China.

“We are the piggy bank that everyone likes to take advantage of or take from and we can’t let that happen any more,” Trump said on Tuesday.

Trump went on to suggest the U.S. has greater leverage in the ongoing talks between the two countries.

“They want to make a deal. It could absolutely happen, but in the meantime a lot of money is being made by the United States and a lot of strength is being shown,” Trump said. “This has never happened to China before. Our economy is fantastic, theirs is not so good.”

16 PHOTOS
Chinese President Xi Jinping
See Gallery
Chinese President Xi Jinping
U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the media during an official visit in Bern, Switzerland January 16, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during their meeting ahead of the G20 Summit at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, China, September 3, 2016. REUTERS/How Hwee Young/Pool
China's President Xi Jinping attends the signing ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland April 5, 2017. Lehtikuva/Vesa Moilanen/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND.
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan for dinner at the start of their summit at Trump?s Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before their meeting at at the Great Hall of the People on March 19, 2017 in Beijing, China. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY *** Local Caption *** Xi Jinping;Rex Tillerson
HELSINKI, April 5, 2017 : Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with Speaker of the Finnish Parliament Maria Lohela in Helsinki, Finland, April 5, 2017. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin via Getty Images)
China's President Xi Jinping meets Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolic at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
China's President Xi Jinping claps during the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina (L) during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on March 27, 2017 in Beijing, China. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool *** Local Caption *** Xi Jinping;Hery Rajaonarimampianina
China's President Xi Jinping and China's Premier Li Keqiang arrive for the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Chinese President Xi Jinping and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach look at the Beijing 2008 medals during a visit at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and Swiss President Doris Leuthard (C) arrive at the seat of the Swiss federal parliament Bundeshaus in Bern, Switzerland January 15, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Chile's President Michelle Bachelet and China's President Xi Jinping listen to their national anthems during a meeting at the government house in Santiago, Chile, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba after Gabonese and Chinese delegates signed economic contracts at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Fred Dufour/Pool
China's President Xi Jinping (L) and Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pose for photographers during the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit in Lima, Peru, November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Beijing and Washington have seemed close to an agreement on multiple occasions with officials traveling back and forth between the two countries. The latest round of negotiations ended last Friday. In response to a question from a reporter, Trump said he did not believe the talks had “collapsed.”

“We have a very good dialogue. We have a dialogue going. It will always continue, but we made a deal with China, it was a deal that was a very good deal ... we had a deal that was very close and then they broke it. They really did,” said Trump, adding, “We can’t have that happen.”

Trump also said he was not surprised that China retaliated with its own tariff increases. While the president has insisted Beijing will bear the costs of the tariffs, most economists say they will be passed to American consumers. A reporter asked Trump about the possibility Americans could “suffer” from the tariffs and he dismissed it. Trump indicated the increased prices for Chinese imports would encourage American manufacturers to move more of their operations here.

“You have no tariff to pay whatsoever if you’re a business. All you have to do is build or make your product in the United States. There’s no tariff whatsoever. So, that really works out very well.”

And Trump expressed no doubts the U.S. would ultimately be victorious in any trade war with China.

“I think we’re winning it. We’re going to be collecting over $100 billion in tariffs,” Trump said. “You know what? You want to know something? Do you want to know something? We always win.”

While the president seems assured, the financial and commodity markets have shaken each time the trade war threats ramped up. And there was a slight crack in Trump’s bravado when Yahoo News asked if he is confident there won’t be a recession during his time in office.

“Well, you never can say that, but we’re doing very well,” Trump said. “I think we probably have the greatest economy that we’ve ever had.”

_____

Read more from Yahoo News:

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.