President Donald Trump discussed his new plans on trade with conservative media at the White House, assuring them his goal of making American trade fair again.
He announced his intent to institute a 20 percent tax on Canadian soft lumber imports as a big step forward on his agenda.
“I’ve been looking to do this for years, I cannot understand how this country has allowed itself to be literally taken advantage of by so many other countries and we never go back,” he said.
Trump confirmed reports that he would tackle unfairly subsidized aluminum imports in the upcoming weeks, and preview additional actions after that.
He specifically addressed free trade critics of his economic agenda.
“I’m the biggest free trader of them all, you can’t be a free trader when nobody else is, and nobody ever says that,” he said.
The president signed an executive order last week to move forward on an investigation into international steel imports to see whether they threaten national security.
“Not specifically China,” he said, although he acknowledged that China was doing a lot of the dumping.
Trump appeared confident that countries exporting to the United States would quickly learn his motives for trade policy.
“The process is, when you charge them enough, they’re not going to send it anymore, it’s a very simple process,” he said.
He pointing to countries who had their own protective import taxes of 70, 80, 90, even 100 percent.
“I call it a reciprocal tax,” Trump said. “If a country is charging us a 100 percent tax, and we’re charging them nothing for the same product … why didn’t these politicians just say reciprocal tax? We’re going to be very heavy on the reciprocal tax.”
Trump admitted that his tone with China has moderated somewhat, but pointed to his negotiations with them to contain the North Korea threat as the reason.
“China has a tremendous power over North Korea, in my opinion they can help us … lets see what they do, that will have a lot to do with my thinking.”
Trump pointed to Canada obstructing American milk and milk product from being imported into the country.
Trump signaled that his actions on trade would help restore the states of important industries in the United States, specifically citing his thoughts on dairy and lumber.
“You know what it’s going to really mean? It means we’re going to start doing lumber in our country, it’s going to mean that farmers are now going to start selling milk in our country, instead of buying Canadian milk.” Trump said.