President Trump's Exaggerated and Misleading Claims on Trade


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fact check

The president’s claims about vast trade deficits, tariffs and a World Trade Organization are farfetched and contradicted by his possess mercantile report.


March 6, 2018

In fortifying his welcome of high tariffs — and in comments that seem to inspire a trade fight — President Trump has regularly claimed vast trade imbalances, astray practices and an general complement that advantages everybody though a United States.

But these claims are mostly farfetched and contradicted by his possess mercantile council. Here is a fact-check of new comments that Mr. Trump has done on trade deficits, a World Trade Organization and tariffs.

“We have a trade necessity of $800 billion a year.” — Mar 6 remarks

This is exaggerated.

A White House orator pronounced a $800 billion necessity figure that Mr. Trump has cited refers to a trade change in goods. The Department of Commerce reported a $810 billion necessity in products in 2017, though a sum trade necessity of $566 billion that includes a trade over-abundance in services.

Mr. Trump’s engrossment with trade in products contradicts his possess White House mercantile report, that he sealed and was expelled in February.

The United States’ economy has shifted “away from production and toward use sustenance industries” in new decades, according a report. “Focusing usually on a trade in products alone ignores a United States’ analogous advantage in services.”

Like many grown countries, a United States is essentially a services economy, pronounced Scott Lincicome, a trade researcher during a Cato Institute, a libertarian consider tank. And American use sectors — like accounting, finance, technology, engineering and law — are globally dominant.

“By focusing usually on goods, we make it seem distant weaker than it indeed is,” Mr. Lincicome said. Doing so also means “ignoring a large, flourishing and colourful partial of a economy,” he said.

We have a necessity of approximately $500 billion a year with China.” — Mar 6 remarks

This is exaggerated.

Even if Mr. Trump is referring usually to a trade necessity in goods, he is off by some-more than $100 billion. The Commerce Department reported a necessity of $375 billion in products with China in 2017. Overall, a United States had a net deficit of $309 billion in 2016.

“We have vast trade deficits with Canada and Mexico.” March 5 post on Twitter

Partly true.

In fact, a United States had a sum trade surplus of $7.7 billion with Canada in 2016, and a over-abundance of $4.4 billion by a third entertain of 2017.

“Massive” is a matter of opinion, though a United States did have a trade necessity of $63 billion with Mexico in 2016, and $52.2 billion by a third entertain of 2017.

“If a E.U. wants to serve boost their already vast tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply request a Tax on their Cars that openly flow into a U.S. They make it unfit for a cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!” — March 3 post on Twitter


The European Union imposes a 10 percent tariff on American-made cars, while a United States’ tariff opposite alien European cars is usually 2.5 percent. But that doesn’t meant American cars are “impossible” to sell in Europe.

The United States is a third largest automobile exporter in a world, promulgation roughly 70,000 cars to Britain, France, Norway and Switzerland in 2014, according to a Commerce Department. The Observatory of Economic Complexity during a Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported that a United States exported $11.8 billion in cars to Europe in 2016.

“When a nation (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with probably each nation it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win.” — March 2 post on Twitter

This is exaggerated.

Actually, a United States had a trade over-abundance with 5 out of 15 vital trade partners in 2016, including Brazil ($22 billion), Singapore ($18 billion) and Britain ($14.7 billion).

Mr. Trump’s mercantile news also cautioned opposite counting trade deficits as waste or as a metric of mercantile health. It argued that deficits simulate innumerable factors, including a strength of a dollar.

“The United States has been means to means a trade necessity in partial given of a purpose of a U.S. dollar in a tellurian economy,” according to a report. “Foreigners are happy to reason U.S. dollars and dollar-denominated assets, that they obtain by offered some-more products and services to Americans than they buy.”

And as The New York Times’ mercantile match Jim Tankersley has reported:

“Most economists do not see a trade opening as income ‘lost’ to other countries, nor do they worry about trade deficits to a vast degree. That’s given trade imbalances are influenced by a horde of macroeconomic factors, including a relations expansion rates of countries, a value of their currencies, and their saving and investment rates. For instance, America’s trade necessity narrowed dramatically during a Great Recession, when inhabitant expenditure faltered.”

“We put tariffs on soaking machines entrance into a country. …Now we have plants being built; put a 30 percent tariff on.” — March 1 listening session

This confuses certain tariffs and exaggerates their impact.

Mr. Trump slapped high tariffs on alien washing machines and solar panels in January. He appears to have churned adult a rates for a dual products.

Solar panels face a 30 percent tariff. The initial 1.2 million soaking machines that are alien in 2018 face a 20 percent tariff; that levy grows to 50 percent opposite each appurtenance following that comes into a United States. Those penalties are gradually phased down in a second and third year of a three-year tariff program.

Complaints by Whirlpool Inc. about a Korean competitors stirred a White House action. It has given pronounced it added 200 jobs to a plant in Ohio in expectation of direct ensuing from a tariffs. It has not announced construction of any new plants.

Samsung and LG Electronics have said they will accelerate skeleton to open plants in a United States following a tariff announcement. But Samsung announced a skeleton to build a bureau in South Carolina final June and LG pronounced it would build a new trickery in Tennessee in February 2017.

“But a World Trade Organization creates it roughly unfit for us to do good business. We remove a cases, we don’t have a judges. We have a minority of judges.”Feb. 26 debate to governors

This is misleading.

Mr. Trump’s claims of disposition are contradicted by his possess mercantile report.

The United States has won some-more cases than a tellurian average. According to a White House report, “the United States has won 85.7 percent of a cases it has instituted before a W.T.O. given 1995, compared with a tellurian normal of 84.4 percent. In contrast, China’s success rate is usually 66.7 percent.”

In cases where a United States is a respondent, “it still wins 25 percent of a time, a rate that is improved than a tellurian normal rate of 16.6 percent,” a news noted. That rate is distant improved than a rates of a European Union and Japan (which have never won a box brought opposite them) and China (which has won usually 5.3 percent of a time).

Linda Qiu is a fact-check reporter, formed in Washington. She came to a Times in 2017 from a fact-checking use PolitiFact. @ylindaqiu


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