Trump's universal tariffs would stifle economy, fuel inflation - White House

FILE PHOTO: View of the White House

By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday former President Donald Trump's proposal to impose new tariffs on all foreign imports would hurt America's working families, damage the economy and fuel inflation.

Trump summoned his top economic advisers to his private golf club in New Jersey for a two-hour dinner last Wednesday night to map out a trade-focused economic plan for his 2024 presidential bid, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Among the ideas they discussed was Trump's plan to enact a universal baseline tariff on virtually all imports to the United States if elected, the report said.

"Combining a sweeping tariff tax on the middle class with more trickle-down tax welfare for rich special interests would stifle economic growth and fuel inflation," White House spokesman Andrew Bates said.

Bates said President Biden "strongly opposes" such a plan, as it would lead to higher prices and higher inflation and the Biden administration is continuing to work with allies against "trade abuses committed by countries like China."

In May, a top U.S. official told Reuters the United States is taking an analytical approach to its review of whether to keep tariffs on Chinese goods in place and will not base outcomes on any "breakthrough" in U.S.-China trade relations.

Biden has sought to stabilize the intense U.S.-China rivalry through high-level official engagement. But at recent fundraising events the president has called its economy a "ticking time bomb" and referred to its leader Xi Jinping a dictator.

A bipartisan majority of Americans favor more tariffs on Chinese goods, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey published in August.

Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley have all called for the United States to end permanent normal trade relations with China.

Trump imposed tariffs in 2018 and 2019 on thousands of imports from China valued at some $370 billion at the time.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)