President Donald said Friday that American companies are “hereby ordered” to start looking for alternatives to China.
Trump was responding to news overnight that China was hiking tariffs on U.S. goods. The Chinese move caught the White House by surprise, according to a person familiar with the matter. As late as Thursday evening, U.S. officials were talking up the potential for expected September talks between the U.S. and China to make progress.
Trump is meeting with U.S. trade officials in the White House Friday morning, including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and trade advisor Peter Navarro.
Trump also struck a decidedly different tone about Chinese leader Xi Jinping, whom he normally describes in respectful and friendly terms. In a tweet, he asked “who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chiarman Xi?”
Trump also said China had not lived up to promises to stop fentanyl shipments to the U.S. As a result, he said he was ordering FedEx, Amazon, UPS , and the U.S. Post Office search for and destroy any fentanyl in shipments from China.
The legal basis for Trump’s orders was not immediately clear. Trump said he would make an official announcement about trade with China Friday afternoon. The “order” may be a warning to U.S. companies that tariffs are going much higher, making manufacturing in China for U.S. markets prohibitively expensive.