Shortly afterwards, Chinese President Xi Jinping responded by saying his country would lower import tariffs on vehicles.
“When a car is sent to the United States from China, there is a Tariff to be paid of 2 1/2%,” Trump wrote on Twitter early in the morning. “When a car is sent to China from the United States, there is a Tariff to be paid of 25%. Does that sound like free or fair trade. No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE — going on for years!”
It’s the second time the idea of Chinese car imports have crossed the president’s Twitter feed during his ongoing trade dispute with China — America’s largest trading partner. Trump’s tweet seems to mirror complaints Tesla CEO Elon Musk made last month about Chinese tariffs on U.S.-made cars.
But Trump’s focus on cars actually highlights one of the sectors where the U.S. maintains a large trade surplus with China, which would expand even more if China follows through in lowering the tariffs. It is perhaps no wonder that China has threatened to add automobiles to the list of American products that could face even greater tariffs in the fact of a trade wars.
The U.S. imported 58,000 passenger cars from China worth $1.5bn last year, according to the International Trade Administration, a federal agency within the Department of Commerce. That was a fraction of the number of cars the U.S. exported to China: 267,000 passenger vehicles worth $9.9bn.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.