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Donald Trump Resurrects Lie That China Is Paying His Tariffs

President Donald Trump boasted Sunday that the U.S. is “winning” the trade war with China — and revived his lie that China pays the tariffs he has imposed on imported Chinese products.

“We’re winning and we’re winning big because we have created an economy that is second to none,” he said at a news conference in South Korea. The previous day he said trade talks with China were back on as he agreed to indefinitely suspend his threatened new round of 25% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports. He also said American companies could continue to do some business with China’s Huawei Technologies. 

Trump also insisted Sunday: “We’re [currently] collecting 25 percent on $250 billion, and China is paying for it, as you know, because, as you notice, our inflation hasn’t gone up.”

In fact, tariffs imposed on Chinese products are paid by American companies importing the goods and typically passed on to consumers. Though Chinese businesses may lower their sales prices to remain competitive in America., they are paying nothing to the U.S. Treasury. Economists have estimated that the trade war is costing U.S. companies and consumers more than $3 billion a month.

Yet Trump told the Fox Business Network: “Don’t let anyone tell you that we’re paying. We’re not paying. China’s paying for it.”

The Associated Press announced flatly in a fact-check report on that comment: “Americans are paying for it.”

The rest of whatever arrangements may have been discussed by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping remains unclear. Trump insisted that China promised to buy “tremendous amounts” of agricultural products from U.S. farmers. “We will give them a list of things we want them to buy,” he said. But Chinese state media reported that Trump hopes China will import more American goods as part of the trade-war truce, reported Bloomberg.

When Trump suspended threatened tariffs against Mexico earlier this month he also said that nation had promised to buy “large quantities” of agricultural products from the U.S. But neither Mexican nor American officials said they were aware of any such deal. The president hasn’t referred to it since.

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