By Lalit K Jha
Washington, Feb 14 US President Donald Trump has threatened China with sanctions for trade imbalance and policies that are hurting the American industry, a move that could result in increasing chances of a trade war between two of the world's largest economies.
Warning China, Trump said Beijing has decimated the American steel and aluminium industry and he is "considering all options".
"My administration is now reviewing the reports and considering all options. And part of the options would be tariffs coming in," Trump said.
"As they dump steel, they pay tariffs -- substantial tariffs -- which means the US would actually make a lot of money, and probably steel industry and aluminum industry would come back into our country. Right now, it's decimated," Trump told lawmakers and members of his cabinet during a White House meeting.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, he said, submitted the result of the investigations to him month.
"It'll make a decision, and I will make a decision that reflects the best interests of the US, including the need to address overproduction in China and other countries. You have countries that are so overproducing, and what they're doing is they are dumping it on us. And you look at empty factories, steel factories, and plants, and it's a very sad thing to look at," Trump said.
Trump said the US has a trade deficit with China which is now USD 504 billion.
"If you think of it, when you look at how well they do, and how many bridges they're building, and how many jets they're building, and fighter planes -- we did it. We did it. People that sat in my seat allowed them to do this," he said, asserting that US will not allow this any longer.
"We're not going to allow that. We're talking to them right now, very strongly. It's a big percentage of our deficits. And the money that we've lost and the jobs that we've lost to China, it's unthinkable that people allowed that to happen," he said, adding that this happened over a period of many years.
Claiming that the US has rebuilt countries, Trump said the US is like a "piggybank" and the people running it didn't know what they were doing.
"And we have rebuilt countries, like, massively. You look at some of these countries -- look at South Korea, look at Japan, look at so many countries. And then we defend them, on top of everything else," he said.
The US defended Saudi Arabia and they pay US a fraction of what it costs.
"We defend Japan. We defend South Korea. They pay us a fraction of what it costs. And we're talking to all of those countries about that because it's not fair that we defend them, and they pay us a fraction of the cost of that defense. Separate argument, but a real problem," he said.
Trump also vowed to revise or scrap a free trade deal with South Korea.
"We have a very bad trade deal with Korea. Very, very bad trade deal. It's a deal that -- it's incompetent that somebody could have made a deal like that. So, we have a horrible trade deal with Korea," he said.
Experts believe that if Trump imposes sanctions on China, it would lead to a retaliatory response from Beijing which could trigger a trade war between two of world's largest economies.