In an interview with Fox News, President Trump told Steve Hilton that he’s willing to end the economic relationship between the U.S. and China if things don’t go the way he wants.
Trump told Hilton that we don’t have to do business with China. About decoupling the two largest economies on the planet, he said:
“Well it’s something that if they don’t treat us right I would certainly, I would certainly do that.”
China buys about 7% of U.S. exports, and accounts for about 1% of U.S. GDP. The president doesn’t have the sole power to end economic relationships with individual countries except under emergency situations, although he negotiates terms. If Trump tried to shut down trade with China he would likely face a host of lawsuits, but he sure could make things uncomfortable, just as he has with the trade spat that continues to this day.
As with all things Trump, there’s no telling if he’s serious, negotiating, or just popping off, which is one of the reasons why he frustrates detractors and delights supporters.