What’s more, he’s even doubled down on some of his trade threats as he hasn’t yet gotten nations to bend accordingly to his rebalancing efforts.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, Trump appeared little phased by the trade war bubbling up around him.
“Every country is calling every day saying, ‘Let’s make a deal, let’s make a deal.’ It’s all going to work out,” he said Sunday.
Whether that’s the case or not, Canada hit the U.S. hard with $12.6 billion worth of reciprocal tariffs that took effect Sunday. American products currently facing new tariffs, include steel products that will now cost 25 percent more to export to Canada, aluminum products facing 10 percent tariffs—a response to the United States’ equivalent measures on metal—plus 10 percent tariffs on things like tablecloths, bobbins and spools used for winding textile yarn, pillows and bedding. Based on the presently in place list, the apparel and footwear industries will come away largely unscathed.
Also on Sunday, Mexico confirmed a new president-elect, López Obrador, who has been called similar to Trump for his nationalist rhetoric and skepticism of free trade. Trump said on Twitter Sunday that he’s looking forward to working with Obrador, who said in an ensuing interview with a local network that Mexico knows the importance of maintaining good relations with the U.S. Though Obrador won’t formally take office until December, his entrance into the conversation is expected to help facilitate progress on the now stalled North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump said on Fox that he has no intention of moving on NAFTA before the U.S. midterm elections in November.
“I could sign it tomorrow but I’m not happy with it. I want to make it more fair,” he said. “I want to wait until after the election. You’re going to have an election, it’s going to be very interesting. I have a feeling it’s going to be fine, and the reason is, because if they’re not fine I’m going to tax their cars coming into America and that’s the big one.”
The “they” Trump was referring to in terms of facing a tax on autos, is everyone. The president has alluded to global tariffs on imported vehicles—a weapon he’s wielding as a major point of leverage in trade negotiations.
To that point, the European Union responded Friday, one week after its own retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, including T-shirts, jeans and leather shoes, took effect.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the European Union said such protective measures will likely “create significant distortions at the global level, with negative consequences that will ultimately impair the position of U.S. companies seeking to remain competitive not just nationally but globally.”
The EU also set out to remind the Commerce Department that the region’s companies produced 2.9 million cars in the U.S. last year, or 26 percent of total U.S. production.
But the auto tariff may not manifest after all.
“What’s going to really happen, there’s going to be no tax,” Trump told Fox. “You know why? They’re [global auto producers] going to build their cars in America. They’re going to make them here.”
On China, the president made clear that he didn’t want to pinpoint China as the only offender in trade, but he isn’t backing down on the battle between them either. Both the U.S. and China have been volleying tariffs back and forth, and Trump has alluded to another round of new tariffs on Chinese goods that could come Friday. And unless China considers softening its stance, the tit-for-tat could persist.
Responding with a firm “no” to a question Fox posed about whether he’d back down on China tariffs, Trump said, “We’ve put in $250 billion worth of product, the tariffs are—in fact it could go up to $500 billion frankly if we don’t make a deal. And they want to make a deal, I will tell you China wants to make a deal and so do I. But it’s got to be a fair deal for this country.”