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One of President Trump’s biggest supporters gets caught in the middle of a tough trade spat.
FOX’s Dave Briggs has “The Real Story”:
As President Trump settles in for a tough week dealing with North Korea, Trump is also preparing for the next round of sanctions against Russia. Russia is one of America’s biggest trading partners and one of the biggest reasons for all the U.S. weakness in the world today. The president is trying to change that.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the new measures to hit Russian sanctions could be as high as $60 billion and could push Russian economy to an unthinkable state, sending oil prices higher and increasing America’s trade deficit. Mnuchin said, “We’re not looking to hurt the Russian people. We’re looking to sanction the Russian people… We’re going to be an even more powerful economy.” But one who you need to think about is China. China is our biggest trading partner, and in order to take Trump’s threat seriously, Beijing would have to do something very bad. China has already banned all energy imports from Russia. Trade war was what Trump was against during the election. Why would Trump take on that headwind? He’s got the trade deficit. America is the biggest debtor nation, not the highest creditor, and as that trade deficit grows, Trump’s own job is more at risk. Remember, not everyone thinks America has the world’s greatest trade surplus. The president is looking for America to run a $2 trillion trade surplus like China. And right now, the President has a choice: Pass a massive trade bill, pass it at the last minute, or maybe in a month he’ll not have the votes. My take: The economic hit doesn’t just go to China, it goes to the U.S. itself as we sell $45 billion a year to China to make cheap goods for the world to buy. This is a perfect time for Trump to go to Congress and say, if you want to stop this trade war, then pass a big new trade bill and tax plan. Here’s my end of this budget and trade “cartel” anecdote: Trump took a position of opposing “the cartels” he once hated, as in NAFTA and trade with China, he’s now pitting America against both NAFTA and China. So how do you actually solve those “cartels?” You push for a huge trade deal and tax plan that targets both China and NAFTA. That might even be tough enough to make trade war worthwhile.
Dave Briggs, FOX News Radio.