Trump defends tariffs despite signs of trouble in global markets

Donald Trump

Donald Trump has defended his controversial positions on tariffs and trade, even as global markets were buffeted by a disappointing start to the second half of the year.

At a meeting with the prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, in the Oval Office on Monday, the president mused that the World Trade Organization had mistreated the US: “I hope they change their ways. They have been treating us very badly for many, many years and that’s why we were at a big disadvantage with the WTO.

“We’re not planning anything now, but if they don’t treat us properly we will be doing something,” Trump added.

At the same meeting, the president said his negotiators were “very close to making some very good trade deals – fair trade deals, I don’t want to say good, I want to say fair – fair trade deals for our taxpayers, and for our workers and for our farmers.”

Trump’s comments came even as signs mounted that administration policies on global trade were beginning to bite.

Goldman Sachs warned the second half of 2018 would be tough for investors as they grapple with rising tariffs and interest rates, while the latest survey of American factories by IHS Markit found that tariffs were driving up costs…

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