- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 2, 2018

President Trump on Saturday blasted critics who accused him of starting a trade war, saying the U.S. has been losing the trade war for years.

“When you’re almost 800 Billion Dollars a year down on Trade, you can’t lose a Trade War! The U.S. has been ripped off by other countries for years on Trade, time to get smart!” the president tweeted.

The U.S. trade deficit in 2017 was closer to $566 billion. The $800 billion figure represents the total value of goods imported by the U.S. in 2017.

Mr. Trump’s get-tough trade policies have come under fire from the right and the left after he imposed tariffs on steel from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

The 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum was intended to protect national security by ensuring domestic production of the metals for military use, according to the administration.

The EU, Canada and Mexico vowed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods including motorcycles, T-shirts, jeans, grapes, apples, pizzas, mattresses and refrigerators.

Mr. Trump also been accused of starting a trade war with China after restoring tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Beijing responded and threatened to restore tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods that were put on hold last month.

Mr. Trump has made a top priority of reducing America’s $375 billion annual trade deficit with China.

A Trump administration team headed by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is in Beijing for a new round of trade talks scheduled to last two days.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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