But the pace has been all too slow for a president intent on retaliating against alleged Chinese foreign trade abuses and rebalancing the US-China trading relationship.
“I want tariffs,” Trump told a coterie of top advisers in the Oval Office during retired Gen. John Kelly’s first week as chief of staff, a source with direct knowledge of the meeting told CNN.
Trump’s demand that his advisers give him options that would empower him to level tariffs against China came as his advisers presented him with a memorandum that would empower the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to launch a broad investigation into Chinese trade abuses concerning intellectual property rights.
But the memorandum, which Trump later signed, did not go far enough for a president determined to take aggressive action to confront Chinese trade abuses and rebalance the US-China trading relationship, which has been marked by a longstanding deficit from the US perspective.
Trump unloaded on his aides from behind his desk in the Oval Office during a meeting that was attended by his new chief of staff, Lighthizer, his then-chief strategist Steve Bannon, National Trade Council director Peter Navarro and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, a source with direct knowledge of the meeting confirmed to CNN.
Trump argued during the meeting that China was “laughing” at the United States and repeatedly made clear he wanted his aides to give him avenues to impose tariffs on certain Chinese imports.
The memorandum was just the latest sign of action from the Trump administration aimed at countering Chinese trade practices. The Trump administration has also…
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