White House: Former President Donald Trump’s Tariffs Would Stifle Economy

Wednesday, the White House said former President Donald Trump’s proposal to impose new tariffs on all foreign imports would damage the economy, fuel inflation, and hurt America’s working families. 

Trump summoned his top economic advisers to his private golf club in New Jersey last Wednesday night for a two-hour dinner to map out a trade-focused financial plan for his 2024 presidential bid, reported the Washington Post on Tuesday. 

Among the ideas they discussed was former President Trump’s plan to enact a universal baseline tariff on virtually all imports to the U.S. if elected, according to the report. 

“Combining a sweeping tariff tax on the middle class with more trickle-down tax welfare for rich special interests would stifle economic growth and fuel inflation,” said White House spokesman Andrew Bates. 

Bates said President Joe Biden “strongly opposes” such a plan, as it would lead to higher inflation and higher prices, and the Biden administration is continuing to work with allies against “trade abuses committed by countries like China.”

A top U.S. official told Reuters in May that the United States is taking an analytical approach to its review of whether to keep tariffs on Chinese goods in place and won’t base outcomes on any “breakthrough” in U.S.-China trade relations. President Biden has sought to stabilize the intense rivalry through high-level official engagement. But at recent fundraising events, President Joe Biden has called its economy a “ticking time bomb” and referred to its leader Xi Jinping as a dictator.

The bipartisan majority of Americans favor more tariffs on Chinese goods, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos survey this month. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former UN Ambassador and Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley, and Trump have all called for the United States to end permanent normal trade relations with China. 

While president, Trump imposed tariffs in 2018 and 2019 on thousands of imports from China valued at some $370 billion at the time. 

White House officials say Trump’s plan would roll back economic progress ushered in on Biden’s watch

“President Biden’s top priority is to protect the higher wages, lower costs, and progress against global inflation he’s delivering for middle-class families — which has now forced inflation lower in the United States than any wealthy peer country,” said Andrew Bates, White House deputy press secretary in a statement. “That means continuing to bring jobs back to America at the strongest pace in decades, an unfulfilled promise from the last administration that this president is making a reality, and continuing to work together with our allies against trade abuses committed by countries like China.”

“President Biden strongly opposes plans to hurt hardworking families with higher prices and higher inflation — as even economists who served in the Trump White House warn such an agenda would,” Bates continued. “Combining a sweeping tariff tax on the middle class with more trickle-down tax welfare for rich special interests would stifle economic growth and fuel inflation.”

The stiff tariffs Trump put in place on China helped pave the way for the Phase One trade deal he signed just before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Upon entering office, Biden promised a full-scale review of the previous administration’s China policies. Still, the president needs to amend Trump’s baseline taxes, even after China failed to meet its commitments outlined in Trump’s trade deal.