Jul 1, 2018 - Economy

Trump on trade: The EU "is possibly as bad as China, just smaller"

President Trump slammed American allies in Europe on trade, telling Fox News' Maria Bartiromo during an exclusive interview on Sunday morning, "The European Union is possibly as bad as China, just smaller. It's terrible what they do to us."

Why it matters: It's conventional wisdom among economists that the U.S. needs allies' support to take on a powerful — and growing — China.

Trump also said that the White House didn't put restrictions on Chinese companies investing in U.S. tech because he "didn't like pinpointing China" and "they are not the only" country stealing U.S. intellectual property.

"I get along with China. I like the president. President for life, we can call him the king, right? I like the president. I didn't like pinpointing China. I don't think it's fair. They are not the only one. Now, they are bigger and stronger, and frankly they do it more, and they're probably a bigger violator, but it is other countries, too. I wanted to go worldwide ... So you mean China can't do it but other countries can?"

Flashback: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the same thing when it was first reported that the White House was considering restrictions on Chinese firms — a move the Trump administration explicitly proposed in May.

The big picture: Trump punted the issue of Chinese investment restrictions to Congress last week, announcing that he would endorse a bipartisan piece of legislation called FIRRMA, which is intended to strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an existing body that reviews foreign investments in the U.S.

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