WASHINGTON (AP) — The pain that President Donald Trump says China is feeling in the trade war is not what he says it is.
Here’s a look at his remarks this week about China’s economy and how they stack up with reality:
TRUMP: “China has now had the worst year that they’ve had in 57 years. This is the worst year they’ve had in 57 years. And they want to make a deal.” — speaking to reporters Wednesday in Hurricane Dorian briefing.
TRUMP: “China wants very much to make a deal. We’ll see. They had the worst year in over 50.” — remarks Wednesday at announcement of state opioid response grants.
THE FACTS: Not even close.
It’s true that China’s economy is decelerating, slowed by Trump’s taxes on Chinese imports and by Beijing’s deliberate campaign to combat runaway debts. The International Monetary Fund expects the Chinese economy to grow 6.2% this year. Though much faster than the U.S., that’s the slowest in a long time for China — since 1990, or 29 years, in fact.
But it’s a fantasy to suggest the Chinese economy is the worst in a half century or more. In 1962, 57 years ago, the country was an impoverished wasteland recovering from the massive famine caused by Mao Zedong’s radical economic policies.
The economy would also plummet during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Since adopting economic reforms in the late 1970s, China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, established a growing middle class and vaulted over Japan to become the world’s second-biggest economy.
Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report.
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