Video: Stephen Colbert Mocks Donald Trump's China Tariffs—'Technically One Side Pays the Price but Both Sides Suffer'

Stephen Colbert has mocked President Donald Trump's handling of the escalating trade war with China, suggesting “one side will pay the price, but both sides will suffer.”

Last week, Washington announced a 25 percent punitive tariff on thousands of Chinese products, unveiling plans to increase levies on an additional $300 billion worth of imports from the world’s second-largest economy.

In response, Beijing imposed tariffs as high as 25 percent on almost 2,500 U.S. goods, worth a combined $60 billion in annual exports.

The president suggested Washington held the upper hand as China was paying billions in tariffs to the U.S. Treasury. On Monday, he reiterated the concept on Twitter, suggesting U.S. consumers had “no reason” to pay tariffs and that businesses would leave China to avoid paying increased tariffs.

Colbert suggested that Trump did not quite grasp the implications of the increased tariffs and accused him of lying.

“The President thinks he can outlast the Chinese because he sees tariffs as free money,” he said on The Late Show on Monday. “And, spoiler, Trump is lying, as Chris Wallace pointed out yesterday to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.”

Speaking to Kudlow during an interview on Fox News Sunday, Wallace pointed out it would not be China to shoulder the burden of increased tariffs, but American importers who will pay what it is effectively a tax increase. In most cases, Wallace continued, the costs will then be passed onto the consumers in the U.S.

Kudlow agreed with Wallace’s stance, contradicting Trump’s claims and admitting American consumers “will suffer” along with their Chinese counterparts as a result of increased tariffs.

“Both sides will pay in these things,” Kudlow said. “The Chinese will suffer GDP losses and so forth.”

Colbert ridiculed Kudlow’s admission, sarcastically describing the U.S. stance as a “bold” approach. “Technically one side will pay the price, but both sides will suffer,” he said. “It’s a bold marketing strategy.”

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates how existing and proposed U.S. tariffs will become much higher than those of other advanced economies.

20190514_Tariff_Countries_Newsweek Existing and proposed U.S. tariffs will become much higher than those of other advanced economies. Statista

The trade war with China has taken its toll on Wall Street, with stocks tumbling on Monday. Both the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost around 2.4 percent on Monday, while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 3.4 percent.

The latter has shed 5.5 percent of its value so far this month and looks set to record its sharpest drop in May since 2000.

The picture is even gloomier for the other two indices. According to Dow Jones Market Data, both are on track for their worst start to the month through May 13 since 1970.

President Donald Trump U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a question from the media during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in the Oval Office on May 13 in Washington, DC. President Trump took questions on trade with China, Iran and other topics. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

This article was updated to include an infographic.

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