‘Even Shooting Wars End in Negotiations.’ Wilbur Ross Isn’t Worried About a Trade War With China

April 4, 2018, 5:43 PM UTC
Wilbur Ross
FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2017, file photo, Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee. Ross was confirmed as Commerce Secretary on Feb. 27. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Photograph by Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appears to be confident the developing trade conflict between the U.S. and China will come to a resolution in due time — though he didn’t suggest when that time could actually come.

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday, Ross said, “Think about it: Even shooting wars end with negotiations.” When it comes to the timing of such negotiations, however, he said that was “another whole question.”

Earlier Wednesday, China announced increased tariffs on U.S. goods including cars, soybeans and whiskey amounting to roughly $50 billion. It is a retaliation to President Trump’s proposed tariffs on Chinese imports rolled out Tuesday that the administration views as unfair trade practices.

Hours after Ross appeared on CNBC, Trump dismissed the notion of an all-out trade war.

“We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S.,” the President tweeted. “Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!”

Ross in his television appearance said, “We’re not looking for a trade war,” adding that he was “a little surprised that Wall Street is surprised by” China’s decision to retaliate. “This has been telegraphed for weeks,” he said.