Trump says he doesn’t think we’re going to have a trade war — 3 days after he said trade wars were ‘good’

President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump.
Getty Images/Pool

  • President Trump said Monday that a trade war was unlikely despite recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum.
  • Trump tweeted on Friday that a trade war would be “good, and easy to win.”
  • Other countries have already promised to respond to the new tariffs with import taxes of their own.

President Trump on Monday said that despite imposing new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, there’s no need to worry about a trade war. “I don’t think you’ll have a trade war,” Trump said. “I don’t think so.”

The comments, made during a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came just four days after Trump announced new tariffs – taxes on imports – for steel and aluminum coming into the US.

They also came after Trump himself repeatedly courted the possibility of a fight on Twitter.

“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,” Trump said Friday.

Trump told reporters on Monday that he was “not backing down” from the proposed tariffs despite promises of retribution from other countries and warnings from leaders of his own political party.

Some nations have already promised to respond with tariffs of their own. For instance, the EU said it would tax US exports of bourbon, blue jeans, and motorcycles. In response, Trump threatened to increase tariffs on EU-made cars.

“If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S.,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there.”

While there’s no technical declaration of a trade war, it is generally considered to occur when countries impose more onerous trade restrictions back and forth.

Economists warn that a protracted trade war would be seriously detrimental to the US economy and likely lead to job losses and possibly even a recession.