Trump claims the trade war with China has had 'absolutely no impact' on the US economy

Joe Radle/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump
  • President Donald Trump talked about the economic impact of the his tariffs on steel, aluminium, and Chinese products during a rare press conference on Wednesday.
  • “And it’s had no impact on our … economy, which I said it wouldn’t,” Trump said.
  • This claim is contradicted by numerous US businesses that are complaining of increased costs due to the tariffs.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed the trade conflict with China has not had any effect on the US economy, despite American businesses warning about pain caused from the tariffs.

At a press conference in New York City following meetings at the United Nations, Trump said tariffs on steel, aluminium, and Chinese products are not hurting the US.

“A lot of money is coming into our coffers,” Trump said of the new tariffs. “And it’s had no impact on our – absolutely, by the way – no impact on our economy which I said it wouldn’t.”

While macroeconomic data such as inflation and GDP growth has remained strong since the start of trade threats, Trump’s claims fly in the face of anecdotal stories from US businesses around the country.

For instance, Ford announced on Wednesday that the steel tariffs have cost the company $US1 billion. Other smaller businesses have been forced to lay off employees or delay investment plans due to increased costs from the tariffs.

Inflation for particular products hit by the tariffs is also on the rise, such as washing machines, which could indicate that the pain will spread out to the broader economy.

As an example of the benefits of the tariffs, Trump pointed to the American steel industry and said the sector is being “rebuilt overnight.”

“In fact steel is like the hottest industry there is, if you look at what happened in steel we’re charging 25% tariffs on steel,” Trump said.

The president also claimed that US Steel is opening up at least eight plants in the wake of the tariffs and Nucor is also opening up plants. While Nucor is opening two smaller mills, US Steel is not planning on opening any plants – rather, it plans to invest more in their current operations.

In addition to the tariff concerns, Trump also hit on a series of other trade issues during the press conference:

  • Trump touted the agreement between the US and Japan to start negotiations on a free trade agreement between the two countries. The president said Japanese President Shinzo Abe agreed to but more American natural gas and military equipment.
  • Trump also touted the revised free trade agreement with South Korea. “Means a lot of business for our farmers, we’re opening up for our farmers, opening up for a lot of different groups,” Trump said. “We’re going to be able to sell much more than double the number of automobiles that we were allowed under a deal that was totally defective that was there before.”
  • Trump warned that Canada needs to come to the table to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and complained about the country’s dairy tariffs.

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