President Donald Trump on Wednesday tried to tamp down economic anxieties over tariffs recently announced by China and the United States.
"We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S.," Trump tweeted, adding, "Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!"
He later tweeted, "When you're already $500 Billion DOWN, you can't lose!"
The President was apparently referring to a deficit of $506 billion in Chinese exports to the US in 2017. Overall, however, the US trade deficit with China is closer to $337 billion when factoring in goods and services, according to figures provided by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Trump's proclamations come amid a tit-for-tat on trade restrictions that he decided to engage in.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration published a list of about 1,300 Chinese exports -- worth about $50 billion annually -- that it intends to target with 25% tariffs. China responded on Wednesday, with its Ministry of Commerce announcing plans to impose its own 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of US exports. The 106 affected products will include aircraft, cars and soybeans.
The escalating exchange of tariffs has many analysts -- and markets -- fearing a potential trade war.
US stocks were poised to open sharply lower on Wednesday after China announced its plans.
Last month, after the administration announced that the US would impose steel and aluminum tariffs, Trump tweeted that "trade wars are good."
"When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win," he tweeted. "Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don't trade anymore-we win big. It's easy!"