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China’s trade surplus with the United States reached a record $31 billion in August, despite hefty tariffs recently imposed on Chinese goods.
The news of the surplus came just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose another $267 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports, which would cover virtually all the goods China imports to the United States.
The potential tariffs would come on top of punitive levies on $50 billion in Chinese goods already in place as well as another $200 billion that Trump says “could take place very soon.”
He told reporters traveling with him to Fargo, North Dakota “behind that, there’s another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want.”
“That changes the equation,” he added.
Such a move would subject virtually all U.S. imports from China to new duties.
The president’s comments Friday came one day after a public comment period ended on his proposal to add duties on $200 billion of Chinese imports.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday the Trump administration would evaluate the public comments before making any decisions on the new proposed tariffs.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office received nearly 6,000 comments during seven days of public hearings on the proposal.
The Trump administration has argued that tariffs on Chinese goods would force China to trade on more favorable terms with the United States.
It has demanded that China better protect American intellectual property, including ending the practice of cyber theft. The Trump administration has also called on China to allow U.S. companies greater access to Chinese markets and to cut its U.S. trade surplus.
China has retaliated to the U.S. tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports with an equal amount of import taxes on U.S. goods. It has also threatened to retaliate against any potential new tariffs. However, China’s imports from the United States are $200 billion a year less than American imports from China, so it would run out of room to match U.S. sanctions.