Paul warns Trump administration against escalating trade war with China

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Sunday that he has warned the Trump administration against leveling more tariffs against China, arguing that they will cancel out any benefits companies received from the administration’s recent tax cuts.

“I know of a big prominent company in Kentucky that said the tax cuts significantly helped them, but that the tariffs are almost equal in punishing them,” Paul said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “I've talked to the administration about this, I said the great benefits of the tax cut, which has low unemployment and incredible economic growth, could be erased by this tariff war.”

Paul added: “The president is playing a negotiating battle with the Chinese and I think he thinks at this point he can't back out…but I still have advised the administration: get this done, because the longer we're involved in a tariff battle or a trade war, the better chance there is we could actually enter into a recession because of it.”

TRUMP SAYS OBAMA LET CHINA GET AWAY WITH 'MURDER,' TOUTS TARIFFS AS TRADE STANDOFF HEATS UP

The United States began raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent on Friday after American officials accused Beijing of backtracking on commitments made in earlier rounds of negotiations.

Talks in Washington broke off on Friday between the U.S. and China without a deal on trade, but both sides have indicated that future talks are likely.

"I think that China felt they were being beaten so badly in the recent negotiation that they may as well wait around for the next election, 2020, to see if they could get lucky & have a Democrat win," Trump tweeted Saturday.

Beijing retaliated for previous tariff hikes by raising duties on $110 billion of American imports. And officials have targeted American companies operating in China by slowing customs clearance and stepping up regulatory scrutiny.

The two countries are sparring over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and pressures American companies into handing over trade secrets, part of an aggressive campaign to turn Chinese companies into world leaders in robotics, electric cars and other advanced industries.

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Trump’s top economic adviser said Sunday that the administration is currently in the midst of waiting for China to retaliate with their own tariffs.

"The expected countermeasures have not yet materialized. We may know more today or even this evening or tomorrow," Larry Kudlow told "Fox News Sunday." Kudlow also said that President Trump's plan to raise U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods across the board could take months to take effect.

"Call it a couple of months. Call it three months. I don't know. That will take some time and then of course the president's going to have to make the final decision on that," Kudlow said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.