President Donald Trump says the US is losing "vast amounts of money" to China, Japan and South Korea in trade, which he vows to rectify with a "reciprocal tax" Photo: AFP
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Trump threatens 'reciprocal tax' on trading partners

66 Comments

President Donald Trump threatened retaliatory measures against U.S. trade partners Monday, accusing them of "getting away with murder."

"We cannot continue to be taken advantage of by other countries," Trump told cabinet, state and local officials gathered at the White House for a meeting on infrastructure.

"We lose vast amounts of money with China and Japan and South Korea," he added. "They are getting away with murder."

"We are going to charge countries outside of our country –- countries that take advantage of the United States. Some of them are so-called allies but they are not allies on trade."

"So we're going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax and you'll be hearing about that during the week and the coming months."

It was not clear what Trump was referring to. White House officials did not immediately respond to request for comment.

After initial remarks, Trump turned to his Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for endorsement of the idea, which appears to be a work in progress.

"Do you agree with what I said about the tax?" he asked "If you don't, ooh, would you be in trouble."

Amid laughter, Ross, aged 80, responded in the affirmative. "We gave away so much unilaterally that a lot of these trade things are self-inflicted wounds."

Trump has long painted himself as tough on trade and described previous policy as a "disaster."

He pulled the United States out of a vast trans-Pacific trade deal and is renegotiating NAFTA -- a free trade accord between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Trump said his presidential predecessors had been "too lazy" to fix the problem.

"The truth is it was laziness. After World War II we helped Germany and helped all countries and we helped Korea after the Korean War."

"And the agreements basically stayed the way they were and they became very wealthy and they could pay a tremendous amount and they could pay us back, but nothing happened."

© 2018 AFP

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

66 Comments
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It's no longer business as usual in Washington. Good.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

Yes, just what we need: a trade war.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

And, BTW, there is something you can do about this dope.

VOTE DEMOCRAT

12 ( +18 / -6 )

It was not clear what Trump was referring to. White House officials did not immediately respond to request for comment.

In other words, ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Impossible to comment on until details are available, and hence highly irresponsible of Trump to bring it up (much less joke about it).

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Its not a threat it is called "equal trade."

Nobody complains about Japanese protectionism and tariffs but when the Us wants EQUAL free trade its a threat suddenly

-14 ( +5 / -19 )

And, BTW, there is something you can do about this dope.

VOTE DEMOCRAT

In order to increase taxes? No thanks, I like my GDP over 3.0%

-19 ( +4 / -23 )

"We gave away so much unilaterally that a lot of these trade things are self-inflicted wounds."

Translation: Some of our richest and most powerful individuals and corporations have been able to manipulate trade arrangements so they could get richer and more powerful. Now we want Trump and a select group of his backers who might not have done so well to join with them.

It was not clear what Trump was referring to.

He's always had poor communication skills, and the pressures of the office in addition to his aging are making them even worse. Why else would he need people to send tweets for him.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I'm voting a straight democrat ticket just to get this expletive out of office, or at least fence him in a tiny little yard that he can wander around in by himself. Besides the GOP's true colors are on full display at the moment and they're going to get what they've worked for. I don't like voting a straight ticket, but this current set up is for idiots that don't comprehend what a toxic future like this holds for this country if we keep letting this go on.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Let's see the details.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm voting a straight democrat ticket just to get this expletive out of office

And if it doesn’t work? Then what? What are the Dems going to run on? Identity politics? Raising taxes? Create more government jobs?

, or at least fence him in a tiny little yard that he can wander around in by himself.

Like how? So then that means nothing gets done and we just have gridlock, yes, that will help the Democrats, allowing nothing to get done, great strategy.

Besides the GOP's true colors are on full display at the moment and they're going to get what they've worked for.

Like what?

I don't like voting a straight ticket, but this current set up is for idiots that don't comprehend what a toxic future like this holds for this country if we keep letting this go on.

As in?

-19 ( +2 / -21 )

"So we're going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax and you'll be hearing about that during the week and the coming months."

To be continued...

It was not clear what Trump was referring to.

I'm pretty much sure he doesn't know either.

"And the agreements basically stayed the way they were and they became very wealthy and they could pay a tremendous amount and they could pay us back, but nothing happened."

And at the same time, the US became a third world country, sure...

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Don't import Japanese cars, then no deficit.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

I doubt anything will happen. They are already renegotiating with SK but that is going badly. Nothing will happen with Japan as they already manufacture too much in the US and reciprocal trade to Japan is too high for America to lose out on. If they started with China, they would be truly starting a trade war which would lead to millions out of employment in America.

I know Trump promised these things, but there's no chance it'll happen

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Unfortunately, most of Trump's supporters do not have any idea what "trade," "deficit," or "China, Japan, South Korea" even mean. Indeed, mostly they look in the mirror wearing those stupid hats and wonder what "AGAM" means.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Don't import Japanese cars, then no deficit.

I don't know the numbers, but a lot of Japanese cars are made in the states. Importing consumer goods probably will not change the balance much with Japan. If the U.S. exported what Japan imports in large quantities, oil, then maybe the trade balance could be changed. Don't know, I don't know much about what goes into the current trade balance with Japan. On a fundamental level, most trade balances should be resolved through currency exchange rates. Of course, many central banks have been using their monetary policies to distort exchange rates. On that note, you have China, the great currency manipulator. China has been waging a trade war on the U.S. with the U.S. help.

U.S. companies have conspired with political backing to move the U.S. manufacturing base into China where spill-over costs of pollution, the biggest savings outside of cost of labor, are disregarded.

Politicians on both sides of the isle are still greedily accepting contributions from businesses, so not much will change with China.

Trump is if nothing else backs of corporate greed and corporate cronyism. Trump will continue and further corporate cronyism while talking tough to the 34% who actually support him. It will be politics as usual marketed as something Hyuge.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Ivanka wont be happy....

http://time.com/4755069/ivanka-trump-factory-conditions-g-iii-apparel/

So while the Trump family are in the Whitehouse milking it for what they can it doesnt really matter.

As long as it sounds good to his base they will eat up anything he serves up he could serve a turd call it a steak and they would say it delicous.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

“Ivanka won’t be happy”

This apparal group makes clothing for Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Cole Haan, Jessica Simpson, Andrew Marc, Kenneth Cole, and Vince Camuto, among others. On the everyday clothing level, they make Dockers, Bass, Guess, Levi’s, and horror of horrors, all the team jerseys and fan apparal of the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association franchises, among other American brands.

And no outrage in the US at all for Chinese workers who get paid next to nothing for the clothes people wear every day, until a Trump was found to be using the same supplier. Anyone suggesting a boycott on stores that sell NFL or MLB jerseys, or any store that sells Dockers or Levi’s until those brands are made in the US?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

"The truth is it was laziness. After World War II we helped Germany and helped all countries and we helped Korea after the Korean War."

Ahh, so it was everyone else before you, Donald, that was lazy? Hard to believe considering how many rounds of golf you've played over the last year, how much time wasted on twitter and Fox news.

Amid laughter, Ross, aged 80, responded in the affirmative. "We gave away so much unilaterally that a lot of these trade things are self-inflicted wounds."

Ross is 80 years old. He's got a history of misstating his net worth, and improperly disclosing his business ties. I don't think it'd be much of a stretch to say Ross doesn't know what he's talking about. Neither does Trump.

@Himajin:

And no outrage in the US at all for Chinese workers who get paid next to nothing for the clothes people wear every day, until a Trump was found to be using the same supplier. 

You don't think there's just a touch of hypocrisy in "Maga" when the president's daughter makes her clothes in Chinese sweatships? Really?

@Bass:

Raising taxes?

Kind of exactly like Trump is threatening to do? Tell me, who ultimately ends up paying the taxes? hmmmm...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@himaj This apparal group makes clothing

Do these apparel group's owners and executives have White House 'roles' and with them direct access to the president? Are they daughters of a US president pushing (at least in public) for bringing American businesses home?

How about Trump's own businesses? Does he still have his products made in Mexico, Bangladesh or China?

If he'd release his actual tax forms, not the ones he scammed Maddow with, we might know. What do you think he might be hiding? Why is he afraid to do what other presidents did?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How appalling that the US helped Germany, Korea, and other countries after wars. From now on, no helping anybody!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@himjin yes we know there are plenty of companies producing in China but are they working in the whitehouse are they publicly giving speeches on made in America just pointing out what hypocrites Trump and his family are. Personally id rather pay more for either made in Japan or US products than supporting sweat shop labour. Unfortunatly its not possible all the time.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"The truth is it was laziness. After World War II we helped Germany and helped all countries and we helped Korea after the Korean War."

Mr Trump-alot is too lazy to understand anything past a marketing slogan.

No, the problem with trade deficits and trade imbalances are the same problems with wage inequality.

Corporations and wealthy people have power in the U.S., and politicians make the rules and regulations for their benefit. Politicians and bureaucrats talk tough, but then they silently accede to lobbyists.

Trump has continued to favor corporations and wealthy people over ordinary individuals. So, no change can be expected except for some new talking points, the latest is calling prior politicians lazy. He would have been better off saying greedy, but that would be counter productive to maintaining his base.

The biggest lie from the GoP is the elimination of regulations to allow the free market to decide. It is still government regulation designed to grant economic benefits to corporations and wealthy people.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It was not clear what Trump was referring to.

It's always cute when Trump tries to play policy wonk, and can't even name the policies he refers to. But he gets the illiterates in his fan(atic) base riled up, and he hopes that will be enough to see him through 2018.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I think everyone should wake up and smell the coffee, and STOP buying ANY American goods. Buy local.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Good call, on a US boycott. It's not always easy but every bit helps.

Trump's desperate to engage in some kind of war, so it might as well be a trade one.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

America has the top economy on the planet. What exactly is the trump complaining about?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

mukashiyokattaToday  01:14 pm JST

How appalling that the US helped Germany, Korea, and other countries after wars. From now on, no helping anybody!

Oh yes, the US really helped Germany after WW1.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Oh yes, the US really helped Germany after WW1.

Historically, a bad move that left the world in an even worse state in the following decades.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

the US is not the world cash cow, you need to get your welfare handouts somewhere else from now on

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

Year after year, America's huge trade imbalances in favor of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China and others, is difficult to explain to those that have never been involved in trade. To try to answer to wild negative stupid comments- is like talking to the wind.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The largest trade deficit is with China at $350 billion pa which caused by Americans and American companies wanting cheap goods and products. That adds up to more than both Japan at $70 billion and South Korea at $20 billion. The trade deficit with NK is zero. The balance of trade with Britain is just about on par with each other with a deficit of just $3 billion, which makes me wonder why Trump is always so negative about the country. The EU block deficit is $100 billion.

Do other countries have what America wants while they don't want so many American products?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

the US is not the world cash cow, you need to get your welfare handouts somewhere else from now on

Kind of an ironic statement, Dango. See, the US has been able to able to maintain its consistent deficits precisely because of the welfare handouts of other countries. With the US dollar viewed as a global reserve currency, the massive deficits US consumers rack up each year are absorbed by the global market desire for liquid capital. Anyone interested in global economic stability would be very sad to see this "welfare" vanish; it would result in global economic chaos surpassing the Great Depression. It would be wise to understand what you wish for.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Dango bongToday  05:21 pm JST

the US is not the world cash cow, you need to get your welfare handouts somewhere else from now on

Heh, People thought I was being facetious about that "illiterate" comment but here we can a Trump supporter who doesn't even know the difference between trade policy and foreign aid.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

" You don't think there's just a touch of hypocrisy in "Maga" when the president's daughter makes her clothes in Chinese sweatships? Really?"

And you don't think there's a touch of hypocrisy in almost all Americans wearing Chinese made clothing and not giving a hoot until now? Really?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

And you don't think there's a touch of hypocrisy in almost all Americans wearing Chinese made clothing and not giving a hoot until now? Really?

Donald Trump, not "most Americans," ran on the platform of "America first" and bringing back American jobs.

So, no, there is nothing hypocritical about many Americans buying Chinese goods.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Heh, People thought I was being facetious about that "illiterate" comment but here we can a Trump supporter who doesn't even know the difference between trade policy and foreign aid

And Dems wouldn’t know the difference between a 9 to 5 job and waiting to collect government assistance.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

If he'd release his actual tax forms, not the ones he scammed Maddow with,

He didn’t scam Maddow with anything, they were given to her illegally and secretly.

we might know. What do you think he might be hiding? Why is he afraid to do what other presidents did?

Don't worry, it won’t help you sleep any better, but I wanted to know a lot of what was written in Hillary’s servers, but doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen either.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Trump is all talk and action. Unfortunately it's all stupid talk and stupid action.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Trump is all talk and action. Unfortunately it's all stupid talk and stupid action.

But if you open the papers and watch the libs on TV jump up and down like “House of Pain” not only do you see stupid, but delusional behavior so far off, it’s almost scary.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Those Trump tax forms date back to 2005 so what about the past 13 year?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Those Trump tax forms date back to 2005 so what about the past 13 year?

Beats me.

@bass not only do you see stupid,

I deal with liberals every day here and in my private life, tell me about it.

but delusional behavior so far off, it’s almost scary...

Who you tellin’?

yep see that it a majority of your posts no secrets there homie right back at you..

Coming from the left is just too, too funny. Lol

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

I deal with liberals every day here and in my private life, tell me about it.

Which Japanese liberals would they be?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And Dems wouldn’t know the difference between a 9 to 5 job and waiting to collect government assistance

so unemploymed republican voters don't claim any government assistance?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Which Japanese liberals would they be?

Aw, c'mon. You know! The Japanese liberals who lived down the road from the Hollywood office, full of FBI contacts, near the newspaper that seconded me to the war that I may or may not have seen action in whilst I promised never to endorse anyone remotely like Nixon again as I put on the House of Pain LP and dreamed of nuking coastal cities ROTFL LOL TTFN

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Which Japanese liberals would they be?

I never said, Japanese liberals, I said, “liberals”

so unemploymed republican voters don't claim any government assistance?

Not in the numbers that keep the pulse of the Democrat Party flowing.

@Toasted

What?

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Not in the numbers that keep the pulse of the Democrat Party flowing.

Prove it

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I never said, Japanese liberals, I said, “liberals”

well I know there are many foreigners living in Fukuoka but not all would be Americans so certainly the liberals you have claimed to interact with must be Japanese nationals then.

Not in the numbers that keep the pulse of the Democrat Party flowing.

How could you or anyone else know that since when claiming government assistance they are not required to state which party they voted for. Last month under Trump, the black unemployment rate increased again since a steady decline from 2012 to 2017.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Most of the economic gains are being absorbed by blue states. Red states are getting left out.

Oh well.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Prove it.

Go through most of LA County and then drive through conservative Orange County, there’s your proof.

So, which liberals do you deal with on a daily basis? Living in Japan, like.

When I’m in Japan, the liberals that I deal with in the workplace.

There's millions of disenfranchised Americans out there. Millions. Are you saying the majority on govt assistance are Dems?

Oh, no indeed, but I am saying that the majority of people that rely on government assistance.

That those actual poor sods in impoverished areas who voted for change, voted for Trump,

Yes, the many Democrat Obama voters that were neglected by the Dems and Hillary and went over to Trump.

don't keep the pulse of the Republican Party flowing, in any way at all?

More like the populace party

Is the Republican Party just for the rich, the elite?

No, that would be the Democrats.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Nobody complains about Japanese protectionism and tariffs

Can you be specific? What products (other than cheese and butter)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

well I know there are many foreigners living in Fukuoka but not all would be Americans so certainly the liberals you have claimed to interact with must be Japanese nationals then.

No, I already told you, stop assuming, it just makes the left look worse than they already are.

How could you or anyone else know that

I’m from LA, I’ve seen it.

Last month under Trump, the black unemployment rate increased again since a steady decline from 2012 to 2017.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/african-american-unemployment-hits-record-low/

Years of steady hiring and economic growth have delivered a cumulative benefit for at least one group that hasn't always shared in America's prosperity. The unemployment rate for African-Americans fell to 6.8 percent in December, the lowest level since the government began tracking such data in 1972. 

Liberals love to recreate a Frankensteinish nightmare always. Smh.

Most of the economic gains are being absorbed by blue states. Red states are getting left out.

Oh well.

https://www.newsmax.com/newsmax-tv/middle-class-blue-states-red-states-michael-reagan/2017/12/20/id/832948/

"I think those of us who live in California or New York or New Jersey or Oregon in the blue states, we're the only ones who are going to see our taxes, in fact, go up. So many of us aren't happy in the blue, progressive states.

"I'll see my taxes go up. But, again, I think this will be very good for the country. It'll be lousy for the Reagan family and for people who live in the state of California."

Yeah, too bad, oh, well. Lol

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

that I deal with in the workplace.

What do you say when they make fun of Trump because of all his broken promises like the wall, the high debt, no Muslim ban or Hillary arrest? And why do you choose to work with Liberals? And where do people over 70 work in Japan?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

When I’m in Japan, the liberals that I deal with in the workplace.

Thought you were self employed or running your own business? Japanese don't usually discuss politics in the office. But unlike your claim they can't be the same liberals/democrats who are claiming American government assistance.

Black unemployment in 2010 was about 16% but by 2016 when Trump won the election the rate had dropped to about 7.8%. By the end of Dec 2017 the rate was 6.8%. So since Trump became president the black unemployment rate dropped by about 1% .

Under Obama the unemployment rate for blacks drooped from 16% to 7.8% a drop of %8.2%.

The rate has now risen for Jan 2018 and stands at 7.7%, a rise of 0.9%.

Americans fell to 6.8 percent in December, the lowest level since the government began tracking such data in 1972. 

Agree but as I have stated the biggest drop were due to President Obama and not such Trump.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

46% of Americans claim to be independent and not democrats or republicans.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

From Fortune.com, but everyone outside of the bubble already knows this:

The unemployment rate among African Americans has been steadily declining since March 2010, when 16.8 percent of African Americans were unemployed. By the time Trump entered office in January of 2017, the African American unemployment rate had already decreased 9 points. While Trump was in office, it decreased by one point — keeping up a trend that had already been in place.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So then that means nothing gets done and we just have gridlock, yes, that will help the Democrats, allowing nothing to get done, great strategy.

Nothing is getting done now.

Allowing nothing to get done is apparently a great strategy as it seems to have worked for the repubs under Obama.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He didn’t scam Maddow with anything, they were given to her illegally and secretly.

And you know this how?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If USA can't complete it's trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, then no one is going to be interested in trade with them. Why bother?

Canada and Mexico are now a part of the TPP and Canada has a new trade agreement with the EU. Something we've long desired to get away for the latest self interested blow hard south of the border.

This provides an opportunity to nations trading with Canada, including Japan, who may be happy to fill in what USA abandons

Oh, and we can finally just do everything in metric. What a relief

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Countries such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, with the support of their governments, targeted and destroyed American industries.

To name one- television, with their unfair, disguised trade practices.

At the same time inhibiting American products from entering their countries- with quotas and cleverly hidden trade barriers.

What America is asking for- is truly free trade that is fair to all countries.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

He didn’t scam Maddow with anything, they were given to her illegally and secretly.

I agree with Tommy Jones. How could you know?

Who benefits from the disclosure of a two page partial return with no information one way or another and who has a history of falsely representing himself as his spokesperson?

The simplest answer is usually the correct answer, i.e., Trump.

Instead of dismissing the information or coming to a logical conclusion, you would rather support conspiracy against Trump, the king of unfounded conspiracies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To name one- television

This is no longer the 1960s with Zenith color TVs. In case you visit a Best Buy store in the US you will notice that most brands sold there are NOT even Japanese. In fact many are brands you that don't stick in your mind at all now since TVs are such a commodity and it's almost like buying something in the 100 yen shop. Today, TVs are no longer made with tubes and they don't need minutes to warm up. In fact with transistors instead of internal tubes that meant that TVs became instant on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't import Japanese cars, then no deficit. 70% of Japanese cars sold in the US are made in the US, Japanese automakers support more Americans in terms of jobs than they do Japanese.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Trumps going to get a big shock when he starts taxing Chinese imports , then the Chinese start taxing American companies doing business in China, American companies getting shut out the soon to be largest economy in the world would be disastrous for America. A Chinese / American trade war would do far more damage than any deficit reduction Trump is trying to achieve.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the US is not the world cash cow, no it isnt , its Japan and China as theyre the ones that fund much of Americas debt, this same debt that America struggles just to pay the interest on!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is this dude in the white house simply mad, or is he sick - in the head?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Did Trump just bring up the eras during and after WW2 and the Korean War to ask for a repayment for their work during that time? How petty-sounding is that?

Not to mention, it was actually during the post-wars days where America's economy grew so much to be the biggest. Didn't hear the country complain then. You even forced Japan to sign the Plaza Accord and destroyed their economy for you.

So to act like this is so pathetic and weak. My goodness did the US "choose" the worst possible guy to be their President.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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