China Asked to Pare $375B Trade Deficit By $1B

Plan would amount to microscopic step toward Trump’s goal

The flags of China and the United States are displayed in front of the portrait of China’s late communist leader Mao Zedong outside the Forbidden City on Nov. 9 during President Donald Trump’s state visit. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has asked China to craft a plan for 2018 under which The United States’ trade deficit with Beijing would be reduced by $1 billion, President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday.

The difference between Chinese goods going to America and U.S. items going to that country rose to $375.2 billion in 2017, according to the Commerce Department. Even if the plan is completed and implemented, however, it would be a microscopic step toward Trump's goal of evening things out.

“Our relationship with China has been a very good one, and we look forward to seeing what ideas they come back with. We must act soon!” Trump wrote.

On Tuesday, Trump said he thinks highly of Chinese President Xi Jinping but contends he has privately pressed his counterpart on a need for the Asian power to alter its trade practices.

“Well, the United States has been taken advantage of by other countries, both friendly and not so friendly, for many, many decades,” he said during a joint press conference with his Swedish counterpart. “And we have a trade deficit of $800 billion a year, and that’s not going to happen with me. 

“And I don’t blame the countries. I blame our leadership for allowing it to happen,” Trump said. “When I was with President Xi in China ... I said to him in public, I said, ‘Look, I’m not blaming you. I blame our people for not doing a better job, for allowing this to happen.’”

Trump has said his coming steel and aluminum tariffs are, in part, intended to press China to cease its steel “dumping” and overproduction tactics.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday morning the administration is on pace to unveil the import tariffs by the end of this week. Trump’s top economic aide, Gary Cohn, is leaving the administration after urging the president against the import fees.

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