Fact check: Trump overstates the cost of a Camaro in China

It does not cost $119,000

On a day when two former members of his inner circle were being convicted and pleading guilty in federal court, President Trump was ignoring all that unpleasantness and political peril and doing what he likes to do best: talking directly to his supporters. At a rally Tuesday in West Virginia, Trump told the crowd at least one piece of "news" that actually is fake. Buyers of a Chevy Camaro in China, he said, must pay $119,000 because of China's tariffs on American cars. He's right that there are tariffs that sharply drive up the cost, but he's inflated the actual price by double.

Bloomberg does the actual math: There's only one Camaro model available in China, with a 2.0-liter turbo, according to GM. It sells for the equivalent of $58,430 in China. A similarly equipped Camaro in the States has a starting price of $25,905. That's a pretty vivid example, even if he stuck to the facts, of what tariffs can do to car prices — and is a foreshadowing of the kinds of price increases Americans could face if the U.S. were to implement auto tariffs Trump has threatened.

Trump is not wrong, in a general way, when he said in the West Virginia speech, "When we make a car, we sell it into China and there's a 25 percent tariff and that's just the beginning. It's all taxes and taxes and taxes. We can't do that anymore."

That said, he does not mention that some of those Chinese auto tariffs were erected in retaliation for $34 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods that he implemented in early July.

Another round of $16 billion in tariffs on one another's goods are about to take effect Thursday, while the U.S. and China are set to resume contentious trade talks on Wednesday under the cloud of a prediction by U.S. President Donald Trump that there would be no real progress.

Trump has threatened to impose duties on virtually all of the more than $500 billion of Chinese goods exported to the United States unless it meets his demands.

The two days of meetings are the first formal U.S.-China trade talks since June.

After negotiations in May, Beijing believed it had assurances from the U.S. that tariffs were off the table. But less than 10 days later, the White House said it would push forward on punitive measures.
China has said it hopes for quiet, steady talks to get "a good result on the basis of equality, parity and trust."

Speaking in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that now that China and the United States have already started consultations, they of course still hope for a "good outcome."

But Trump told Reuters on Monday that he did not "anticipate much." In an interview, he said resolving the trade dispute will "take time because China's done too well for too long, and they've become spoiled."

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

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