Wendy Cutler on Trump's New Tariff Threats

Interview on CNN Newsroom

The following is the full transcript of ASPI Vice President Wendy Cutler's interview with Brooke Baldwin on CNN Newsroom about President Trump's tweets on May 5 threatening a 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods, all the way up to 25% if the U.S. and China cannot reach an agreement by Thursday, May 9.

Brooke Baldwin: What would have pushed Trump to do this, this late in the game? 

Wendy Cutler: Well, we're at the end game of the talks, and there is still a handful of really delicate issues on the table. [Trump] is worried about getting some domestic criticism on this deal, so why not use the one tactic that's worked for him so well thus far in this negotiation, and that is threatening tariff increases. 

Brooke Baldwin: But with the threats, I mean, China knows how Trump rolls. Do you think any of this is going to make China flinch? 

Wendy Cutler: I think China is now in a box. Do they try to satisfy Trump's demands and can they even satisfy Trump's demands? But clearly, China has an interest in solving the issue. The U.S. has an interest in solving the issue. Both sides have made a lot of progress on many issues and a lot of this, frankly, is just end game drama in any negotiation. 

Brooke Baldwin: Let's hope so and this whole thing gets settled. But what if it does not Wendy, and they don't reach an agreement by this Thursday? How might China react, or retaliate? 

Wendy Cutler: Remember, China put a lot of market opening on the table already. China might just pull it back and give that market access to a lot of our competitors around the world, and that would hurt U.S. businesses, U.S. farmers, and U.S. consumers. Also, we can expect China to counter-retaliate and even hurt our farmers and others even more. So as I say, a lot of drama this week. Thursday and Friday are a long way off. And I suspect when the Chinese team comes here they're going to be working around the clock to try and reach a deal. 

Brooke Baldwin: We know the U.S. economy is humming, we were just talking about the jobs numbers on Friday. We saw how rattled Wall Street was this morning. China doesn't want to hurt its economy. Trump wants to be reelected president. Is this just a total no-brainer for both sides? 

Wendy Cutler: It is, but unfortunately, based on the economic data in the U.S. and even in China where it's last quarter GDP numbers were up to 6.4% growth. Both sides feel that they have negotiating leverage, and their economies are doing well, so this is high stakes. (3:08)

Watch the interview on CNN Newsroom>>

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