Trump’s Dubious Claims About China

In remarks to the press in Iowa and before departing for Iowa, President Donald Trump talked about ongoing trade negotiations with China, and the possibility of enacting further tariffs. But Trump distorted the facts on several points:

  • Trump correctly said that U.S. “net worth” has risen nearly $14 trillion since he was elected. But he claimed that China’s net worth has dropped by $15 trillion to $20 trillion during the same period. Economists told us there is no directly comparable data for China, and the only similar data show China’s wealth increasing.
  • Trump said the U.S. trade deficit with China was $500 billion under President Barack Obama and claimed he “stopped” that. He’s wrong on both counts. The U.S.-China trade deficit has gone up under Trump.
  • Trump also repeated his claim that China pays the U.S. “billions and billions of dollars” in tariffs, and until now “never gave us 10 cents.” That’s also doubly wrong. U.S. importers pay tariffs in the form of customs duties, not China, and the U.S. has been collecting billions in tariffs on Chinese goods for years.

As the president was about to fly off to a June 11 campaign event in Iowa, pointed out that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also would be speaking in Iowa, and that the former vice president planned to talk about the need to “get tough” with China. Trump called Biden

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