- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Declaring himself a “tariff man,” President Trump on Tuesday warned China to make a trade deal — or else.

Mr. Trump said that negotiations were already underway on the commitments made when he and Chinese President Xi Jinping made a breakthrough in trade talks over dinner Saturday in Argentina.

“President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will. But if not remember … I am a Tariff Man,” Mr. Trump said in a series of tweets.

“When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so,” the president wrote. “It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN.”

The stock market started to dive following Mr. Trump’s tweets, as investors began doubting a trade deal with China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank more than 520 points or 2 percent to roughly 25,290 in mid-day trading. Investors were on course to erase all the gains made Monday when they celebrated a truce in the trade war.

Mr. Trump has used tariffs to force Beijing to the negotiating table about its longstanding trade abuses including tariffs and other trade barriers, theft of intellectual property and forced transfer of technology from American companies doing business in China.

The tariff tactic stoked fierce opposition among free-trade advocates within Mr. Trump’s Republican Party. The opposition persists.

“Tariffs are taxes on American families,” Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, tweeted in response to Mr. Trump dubbing himself Tariff Man.

At the dinner, Mr. Trump agreed to a 90-day delay of tariffs on China and Mr. Xi agreed to major concessions to open its markets to American goods.

Mr. Trump’s 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods was set to increase Jan. 1 to 25 percent. China now has until April to make a deal or else suffer the higher tariff.

Also hanging over the negotiations is Mr. Trump’s threat of tariffs on another $267 billion of goods, which would impose duties on all Chinese goods shipped to the U.S.

In the tweets, Mr. Trump expressed confidence that his team led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would quickly find out whether a deal was possible.

“But if a fair deal is able to be made with China, one that does all of the many things we know must be finally done, I will happily sign,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Let the negotiations begin. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

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