Trump's Tariffs Are Hammering America in the Face, CEO Says

(Bloomberg) -- Calling trade war a “terrible policy,” the chief executive officer of a Chicago-based company that makes coatings for pots and pans said President Donald Trump’s taxation of imports inflicts economic pain on the American people.

“If you have a hammer, you can use it to either nail nails in the wall, or you can hit yourself in the face with it,” GMM Nonstick Coatings CEO Ravin Gandhi said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “And I think that Mr. Trump should stop hitting the U.S. in the face with these tariffs, because I think it’s bad for everybody.”

Global trade tensions continue to escalate, with a 25 percent levy on $34 billion of Chinese goods taking effect early Friday morning and immediate retaliation from China with a tariff on an equivalent amount of American shipments. President Trump, who previously applied tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, is already considering a tax on an additional $16 billion of Chinese goods and potentially more than half a trillion dollars worth.

GMM Nonstick Coatings, which was acquired by Japan-based Showa Denko K.K. in 2016, has clients who have already reduced their spending in China by as much as 40 percent, Gandhi said. He warned that Trump was “playing chicken” with the economy and this would have negative consequences for American companies and their partners throughout the global supply chain.

“I think our president has made the political calculus that our economy is strong, and he’s willing to potentially inflict some pain upon us, because it’s good for him politically to hurt China,” Gandhi said. “And I think it’s OK right now, but man, if it really turns into a trade war, China has proven themselves that they are willing to let their people suffer for woefully stupid economic policies for decades.”

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