US had to take on China, says Trump even as stocks slip over trade tensions

President Donald Trump | (AP/PTI)

Unfazed by the slump in the American stock market, President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his tough decisions against China, asserting that at some point Washington had to take action against Beijing.

The US has officially labelled China a currency manipulator, accusing it of using yuan to gain "unfair competitive advantage" in trade, a move that could further escalate the tense trade relations between the world's two largest economies.

"At some point, we have to take on China. They've been taking us to the cleaners for 25 years, this should've been done long before me as the president," Trump told reporters at the White House responding to a question on China.

"You know the story better than anybody you know better than I do, frankly, hundreds of billions of dollars a year take it out of our country, stealing intellectual property. Right now we are sitting on top; we have money pouring in," he said.

Trump said as a result of his decisions China was losing American companies.

"Thousands and thousands of companies are leaving China now because of the data. And we're in a very good position as to whether or not a deal will be made. I will tell you this, China would like to make a deal very badly," he said.

Trump was not worried at all with the slump in the US stock markets.

"I think the market reaction is to be expected, I might have expected it a little more," he said.

"Ultimately, I think the market, it's going to go much higher than it ever would've gone, because China was like an anchor on us, China was killing us with unfair trade deals.

"The people that allowed that to happen in China are a disgrace. What they were doing is taking the hundreds of billions of dollars out, stealing intellectual property, targeting our farmers, a lot of that is over, and they understand that," Trump said.

China has now admitted that it is a currency manipulator, Trump said.

"If you look at the trade situation. China just admitted yesterday that they've been they are a currency manipulator, for the first time they've ever been called out [sic].

"Somebody had to do this with China, because they were taking hundreds of billions of dollars a year out of the United States, somebody has to make a stand, and I think our country is doing really well," Trump said.

During the 2016 presidential elections, Donald Trump had promised to label China as a currency manipulator, but the Department of Treasury kept the country on its watchlist, declining to take the step.

On Monday night, the department announced, "Secretary (Steven) Mnuchin, under the auspices of President Trump, has today determined that China is a 'Currency Manipulator'."

President Trump on Thursday announced that the US will impose an additional 10 per cent tariff on $300 billion in Chinese imports, as he accused China of not being serious in arriving at the trade deal and failing to keep its promise to buy more American agricultural products.

Trump kicked off the trade war demanding China to reduce massive trade deficit which last year climbed to over $539 billion. He is also insisting on China to workout verifiable measures for protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) technology transfer and more access to American goods to Chinese markets.

The 12th round of talks between top trade negotiators from China and US, the first after they broke down in May, lasted just half a day and ended last week with no sign of a breakthrough, but a willingness to continue discussions.

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