US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had to confront China over trade even if it caused short-term harm to the US economy because Beijing had been cheating Washington for decades.
"Somebody had to take China on," he told reporters during a White House visit by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. "This is something that had to be done. The only difference is I am doing it," he said.
"China has been ripping this country off for 25 years, for longer than that and it's about time whether it's good for our country or bad for our country short term. Long term it's imperative that somebody does this," he said.
Concerns about a possible US recession weighed on financial markets last week and seemed to put administration officials on edge about whether the economy would hold up through the November 2020 presidential election.
Democrats on Sunday argued Trump's trade policies were posing an acute, short-term risk. US stock markets tanked last week on recession fears with all three major US indexes closing down about 3% on Wednesday, paring their losses by Friday.
Trump, who is seeking re-election, again dismissed recession fears, saying: "We're far from recession."
Trump's tariff plans have roiled global markets and further unnerved investors as the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies stretches into its second year with no end in sight.
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