Trump threatens to expand his trade war by slapping tariffs on Vietnam

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump is in the middle of a trade war with China, with the administration having levied a tariff of 25% on $US200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Both sides are locked in negotiations to end the dispute, which has lasted for more than a year. Now Trump may be getting ready to open a new front against one of China’s neighbours: Vietnam.

During an interview on Wednesday with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, Trump hinted he might impose tariffs on Vietnam, which has benefited from the US-China trade dispute.

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“A lot of companies are moving to Vietnam, but Vietnam takes advantage of us even worse than China. So there’s a very interesting situation going on there,” Trump said.

When Bartiromo asked Trump whether he planned to impose tariffs on Vietnam, Trump didn’t directly answer the question, saying, “We’re in discussions with Vietnam.” He went on to describe Vietnam as “the single worst abuser of everybody” and vowed to increase tariffs on China again if a trade deal isn’t reached.

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During the February summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, Trump praised Vietnam’s attempt at reducing the trade imbalance. Vietnamese airline carriers made deals to purchase jets and other equipment worth $US20 billion, Politico reported.

Vietnam is a major American trading partner in Asia. Bilateral trade between both countries has substantially increased since diplomatic relations were restored in 1995, two decades after the end of the Vietnam War.

In 2017, US trade with Vietnam amounted to $US58.2 billion, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative. The top US exports to Vietnam are cotton, computer chips, and soy beans, while the US is biggest destination for Vietnamese goods, including textiles and electronics.

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